Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/11/2010 03:57:23 PM PDT

GRAND TERRACE – Bea Cortes’ campaign consultant is considering legal action against the citizen who anonymously posted signs accusing Cortes of stifling free speech.

“We have nothing against free speech, but we will challenge putting out anonymous fliers that include false information,” said Chris Jones, who works on Cortes’ campaign for City Council and with other local candidates.

Debra Hurst said she spent about $2,400 to send fliers to each of the roughly 4,200 homes in Grand Terrace and order 250 signs because she wanted to warn people of Cortes’ history.

Hurst said she was not aware that she was legally required to include her name and officially file before distributing the materials.

“I’m not in the political field,” she said. “I volunteer at different places and I’m a grandma. … I just want people to be informed before they vote.”

The fliers quote several newspapers and blogs criticizing Cortes and include a claim that Cortes is under investigation for payments made to Terra Loma Real Estate.

The district attorney’s office stopped the investigation – which Hurst helped initiate – Sept. 24, but Hurst said she mailed the fliers before she heard charges were dropped.

Hurst supported her free speech complaint with a story from The Sun about Cortes’ push for a restraining order against resident Kay Moore, which would have stopped Moore from attending City Council meetings.

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