Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Political mailers are filling mailboxes all over California, thanks to a bumper crop of contentious ballot measures and the most competitive array of legislative and congressional seats in decades.

Most of those cardboard missives are just propaganda for and against particular candidates and measures, but in the last two weeks of the campaign, many are “slate mailers” that purport to represent sage advice from cultural or ideological groups.

Don’t be fooled. The vast majority of slate mailers are commercial enterprises, and the positions they take depend entirely on which side of an issue or which candidate paid the money to appear.

Take, for instance, two slate mailers that were delivered simultaneously a few days ago to voters in the eastern suburbs of Sacramento, locale of two hotly contested races for the Legislature and Congress.

One was slugged “COPS Voters Guide,” featured a motif of what appeared to be law enforcement badges, and generally followed the Democratic Party’s positions on ballot measures and candidates, including Democratic congressional candidate Ami Bera and Ken Cooley, a Democrat running for the Assembly.

The other came from “Budget Watchdogs,” and mostly supported Republican Party positions and candidates, including Bera’s Republican foe, Rep. Dan Lungren, and Cooley’s GOP opponent, Peter Tateishi.

It took some digging to reveal that the “COPS Voter Guide” is actually the creation of a Sacramento political consultant, Kelley Moran, who didn’t return phone calls.

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