PALM SPRINGS — As Palm Springs City Attorney Edward Z. Kotkin predicted, the Fair Political Practices Commission,, FPPC, has determined that it found no violation of law or any regulation by the City in relation to a public education mailer sent to residents, this time with respect to Measure C.
The complaint centered on an 11-inch-by-6-inch postcard designed to educate and inform Palm Springs residents on Measure C.
A local citizens group, Palm Springs Neighbors for Neighborhoods, filed two complaints with the California FPPC alleging the postcard was paid for by taxpayers and presented biased and misleading information on the current ordinance as well as the impact to the city should voters approve Measure C.
“A city-funded mailer must be a fair presentation of facts serving an informational purpose, and may not be campaign material,” Kotkin told Uken Report at the time. “As city attorney, I reviewed the mailer’s form and content as to compliance with all applicable law.”
Just as it did last November when reviewing prior allegations of mass mailing violations, the FPPC decided that multiple complaints filed in relation to the city’s Measure C mailer were unfounded, Communications Director Amy Blaisdell said in a news release. Citing provisions of the Political Reform Act and regulations prohibiting the mass mailing of campaign advocacy at public expense, the FPPC closed its file, finding no wrongdoing connected with the city’s April mailing of information regarding Measure C.
In addition, prior to commencing its investigation of the mass mailing complaints filed, the FPPC summarily rejected complaints alleging a violation of the state’s conflict of interest laws by Councilmember Christy Gilbert Holstege.
Measure C would have prohibited vacation rentals of single-family residences in single-family residential zones. Members of the City Council drafted and signed a ballot argument against Measure C, secured a report analyzing Measure C’s significant potential impacts, and authorized the mailer that was the subject of the complaints to the FPPC. A super-majority of the City’s voters rejected Measure C, despite the fact that the FPPC investigation remained pending on Election Day.
The FPPC stated, “The mass mailing concerning Measure C did not contain express advocacy. Further we have concluded it did not unambiguously urge a particular result in the election.” A copy of the FPPC’s letter is available for public review at City Hall and here.
“The City of Palm Springs is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to keep voters well-informed, and refraining from advocacy in public education related to ballot measures,” Kotkin said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased that the FPPC determined that the sworn complaints it received about the Measure C mailer did not provide a legal basis for any action, and closed this case.”