This slate mailer shows candidates for San Bernardino city clerk, city attorney and City Council who are not necessarily Democrats.(CONTRIBUTED IMAGE/CONTRIBUTED IMAGE)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Published: 13 November 2011 08:32 PM

An official with the San Bernardino County Central Committee of the Democratic Party has complained about campaign literature mailed to San Bernardino residents that he said falsely implied the party had endorsed five candidates for city office, including three who are Republicans.

City Attorney Jim Penman, council members Wendy McCammack and Chas Kelley, city clerk candidate Amelia Sanchez Lopez and council candidate John Valdivia paid to appear on the mailer, which is titled “The Team for Democratic Voters.”

McCammack, Kelley and Valdivia are registered Republicans, Penman is registered as “decline to state” and Sanchez Lopez is a Democrat, according to voter registration records.

Mark Westwood, vice chairman of the Central Committee, said at the Nov. 7 San Bernardino City Council meeting that he believed the mailer was misleading. He said it arrived in mailboxes the weekend before the Nov. 8 election.

“I got calls and emails wondering why we were endorsing Republicans,” Westwood said.

The Democratic Party did endorse Sanchez Lopez, he said.

The reverse of the mailer states: “Notice to voters: This document was prepared by Democratic Voters Choice, not an official party organization. Appearance in this mailer does not necessarily imply endorsement of others appearing in this mailer.”

Chris Jones, who is a consultant to the five candidates and did not create the mailer, said the mailer “recommended candidates that best reflected the concerns of San Bernardino’s Democratic voters.”

Jones said all five were endorsed by the Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

Kelley, asked at the council meeting about his appearance on the mailer, shrugged and said, “It’s a slate mailer.”

INITIATIVES HAVE MERIT

Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione is hopeful that a series of initiatives planned for the November 2012 ballot will help change state government and protect local governments.

Tavaglione, president of the California State Association of Counties, said his group’s initiative for a constitutional amendment providing funding protection for local governments had to be refiled. He said language from Los Angeles County and the League of California Cities needed to be incorporated. But the end result is better, he said.

“It makes it a cleaner measure,” he said last week.

Meanwhile, Tavaglione also said a ballot proposal by California Forward, a government-reform group, has merit.

Among the items in the group’s Government Performance and Accountability Act proposal are a two-year budget cycle for state government and a requirement that local governments include performance metrics in their own budgets.

“That will be good if it moves forward,” Tavaglione said.

NOT RUNNING

Former Republican lawmaker Dennis Hollingsworth can serve two more terms in the Assembly, has a campaign account, and is weeks away from getting bounced from his post on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

All of which has led to speculation that Hollingsworth will run for the redrawn and uber-Republican 67{+t}{+h} Assembly District, which includes Wildomar, part of Hemet and Hollingsworth’s hometown of Murrieta. There already are four GOP candidates for the seat, but all would likely be overshadowed by a Hollingsworth candidacy.

That’s not going to happen, Hollingsworth said last week in an interview near the Capitol.

Hollingsworth said he will not run for the Assembly and has other plans for 2012, he said, declining to describe them. But they do not involve seeking elective office, he added.

In January, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Hollingsworth to a $128,109-a-year post on the unemployment insurance board in one of his final acts as governor. The post requires Senate confirmation within one year.

Gov. Jerry Brown, however, in August asked Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, that Hollingsworth not be confirmed. Brown has proposed eliminating the board by 2012-13.

HOLD YOUR HORSES

After past elections in Riverside County were marred by problems counting the ballots, Tuesday’s election went smoothly, local leaders said. But tallying the votes still took time in some places, such as Norco, where Mayor Berwin Hanna and supporters waited on results.

“It was a long night,” Corona Councilwoman Karen Spiegel said during a Wednesday morning meeting. Spiegel noted that precincts in Norco, which prides itself on its equestrian culture, were some of the last to arrive for counting.

“They must have used the horse,” Spiegel joked.

This week’s Political Empire was compiled by Dug Begley, Brian Rokos, Duane Gang and Jim Miller. Go to www.pe.com/politics for political news all week.

Political Empire