The mail pieces — sometimes referred to as “slate mailers” — have become part of the candidacies of council candidate Dennis McCord and Councilman Dominic Farinha.
McCord and Farinha each requested to be listed on two such slate mailers, each of which highlight certain candidates for office and advocates for positions on statewide propositions.
Ed Maring, who is running for Del Puerto Health Care District, also appeared on one of the mailers.
Candidates sometimes pay with campaign funds to be included on slate mailers.
Several weeks ago, McCord appeared on two slate mailers with opposing viewpoints — Election Digest from Coalition for Literacy and The Budget Watchdogs Newsletter.
The Coalition for Literacy slate mailer suggests voting for President Barack Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, along with both McCord and Farinha. It also advocates a no vote on Proposition 32 and a yes vote for Proposition 30.
Proposition 32 would limit spending by special interests in elections. Proposition 30 would increase taxes to help fill the budget deficit and avoid cuts to schools and public safety.
The website for Coalition for Literacy, one of many organizations that sends out campaign mailers, states that the coalition “is tasked with helping to spread the word among our government decision makers and to advocate for policies and programs which directly focus on increasing literacy among both children and adults.”
There is no reference on the site or in any of the campaign literature about what individuals or groups support Coalition for Literacy.
The Budget Watchdogs Newsletter endorses McCord and recommends a yes vote on Proposition 32 and a no vote on Proposition 30.
McCord took out an advertisement in the Oct. 18 edition of the Irrigator and took to Facebook to announce his support of Propositions 30 and 38 and his opposition to Proposition 32.
Proposition 38, sponsored by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, would raise income taxes on all residents, unlike Proposition 30, which would raise income taxes only for couples earning more than $500,000 and would also increase the sales tax. Proposition 38 would use money from the tax for education and to pay down the state debt.
Both seemingly opposing mailers come from the same address — 1954 Ste. B W. Carson St. in Torrance, which is a backroom office next to a liquor store, according to a photo from Google Maps.
McCord, who called himself fair and open-minded, said this week that he did not believe in all of the stances on each of the slate mailers, which was why he placed the ad in the Irrigator to set the record straight.
“Slate mailers are one way to get your name out there and get elected,” McCord said this week. “I hadn’t seen them until they hit the mail last week.”
Farinha appears on another slate mailer called The COPS Voter Guide, focused on public safety issues. That mailer, which lists an address in Folsom, advocates increasing taxes with a yes vote on Proposition 30.
Farinha said he was not informed of the slates’ positions on the propositions before he requested to have his name placed on the mailers, but he said this week that he supports Proposition 30.
Council candidate Sheree Lustgarten this week criticized the way the mailers were used in this year’s City Council campaign. She said she had never paid attention to slate mailers, because it was not clear who was really behind them.
“It is (the candidates’) responsibility to know what is going to be on the mailers and research who and what they support,” she said.
She said appearing on opposing slate mailers was akin to flip-flopping on issues.
“(Candidates) shouldn’t try to please everybody,” she said. “You can disagree respectfully with people on issues.”
A call to the Torrance office listed on the Budget Watchdogs and Campaign for Literacy slate mailers was answered by a woman who refused to identify herself. She answered the phone with the words, “Campaign office.”
When asked by the Irrigator about conflicting mailers coming from the same Torrance address, she said, “I don’t know what scandal you’re trying to uncover, but we’re in production and too busy to talk until after the election.”
• Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.