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Updated: Fair Campaign Practices Commission to Investigate Measure S Campaign

By Carol Denney
Friday September 20, 2013 - 09:05:00 AM

The Fair Campaign Practices Commission unanimously recommended an investigation into the 2012 Berkeley election’s Measure S’s electoral campaign at their September 19, 2013 meeting at the North Berkeley Senior Center.

David Wagoner, pro bono counsel for complainants Pattie Wall and Bob Offer-Westort, cited reporting violations, misleading slate cards, and cash payments handed out by Downtown Berkeley Association’s director Jon Caner on election day to people most likely to be targeted by Measure S,an attempt to regulate "problematic street behavior" which was placed on the ballot by the city council at Mayor Tom Bates' urging, as squarely within the jurisdiction of the Fair Campaign Practices Commission. 

Roland Peterson defended the Measure S campaign, arguing that the campaign “did not go after homeless people” but acknowledged that approximately 50 people were hired by the campaign to hand out literature on election day. 

Zoning Commissioner Igor Tregub spoke, saying he “came across the situation on campaign day,” and spoke with people handing out misleading fliers and slate cards who “thought they were working for the Obama campaign.” 

Asa Dodsworth, a Rent Stabilization Board Commissioner, spoke about how difficult it is to get people to participate in and contribute to political campaigns in Berkeley, saying “there’s legal sides, but there’s moral sides,” suggesting that there was a lack of respect for local process. 

Former Fair Campaign Practices commissioner Mary Eleazar added that the Berkeley Democratic Club’s “effort to manipulate the most vulnerable people in town is just plain wrong,” referring to the Berkeley Democratic Club’s spotty reporting of their financial involvement in the Measure S campaign. 

The commissioners also adjourned mid-meeting to re-convene as the Open Government Commission, which unanimously recommended further discussion of Brown Act violations regarding the current Berkeley City Council rules for public comment, and a unanimous recommendation that a Rent Stabilization Board Public Records Request be revisited.