Mailer misconception?

Days before election, flyers circulating around SH community show LB Mayor Garcia’s false endorsement of candidate Wilson

Pictured+is+a+mailer+from+the+Citizens+Supporting+Chris+Wilson+For+City+Council+2019+group+that+is+being+distributed+to+Signal+Hill+residents+this+week.+The+information+on+the+pamphlet+shows+Long+Beach+Mayor+Robert+Garcia%E2%80%99s+alleged+endorsement+of+Wilson%2C+but+Garcia%E2%80%99s+office+has+confirmed+that+the+mayor+has+only+endorsed+candidate+Keir+Jones+in+the+March+5+general-municipal+election.+
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Mailer misconception?

Pictured is a mailer from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson For City Council 2019 group that is being distributed to Signal Hill residents this week. The information on the pamphlet shows Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s alleged endorsement of Wilson, but Garcia’s office has confirmed that the mayor has only endorsed candidate Keir Jones in the March 5 general-municipal election.

Pictured is a mailer from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson For City Council 2019 group that is being distributed to Signal Hill residents this week. The information on the pamphlet shows Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s alleged endorsement of Wilson, but Garcia’s office has confirmed that the mayor has only endorsed candidate Keir Jones in the March 5 general-municipal election.

Courtesy SH resident

Pictured is a mailer from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson For City Council 2019 group that is being distributed to Signal Hill residents this week. The information on the pamphlet shows Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s alleged endorsement of Wilson, but Garcia’s office has confirmed that the mayor has only endorsed candidate Keir Jones in the March 5 general-municipal election.

Courtesy SH resident

Courtesy SH resident

Pictured is a mailer from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson For City Council 2019 group that is being distributed to Signal Hill residents this week. The information on the pamphlet shows Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s alleged endorsement of Wilson, but Garcia’s office has confirmed that the mayor has only endorsed candidate Keir Jones in the March 5 general-municipal election.

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Most Signal Hill residents receiving the mail this week perhaps wouldn’t second-guess a flyer in their mail boxes from a group supporting Signal Hill City Council candidate Chris Wilson. After all, with Election Day March 5, political pamphlets are not uncommon.

However, a mailer distributed this week to residents from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson For City Council 2019 group implies that Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has endorsed Wilson for council, when that isn’t the case, as confirmed by Wilson himself and Garcia’s office in statements to the Signal Tribune.

“The only candidate Mayor Garcia has endorsed in the race is Keir Jones,” said Mark Taylor, Garcia’s chief of staff, in a message to the Signal Tribune Feb. 26.

One Signal Hill resident shared the mailer with the Signal Tribune that shows the slogan “Democrats all agree!” with a picture of Garcia.

In a phone interview Feb. 26, candidate Wilson explained that his campaign was not made aware of the flyer and did not give his consent to publish the information to residents. The Signal Tribune learned that the mailer was filed as an independent expenditure to the City of Signal Hill– Form 496– Monday, Feb. 25, according to the “election info” page on cityofsignalhill.org.

The Signal Tribune reached out to the phone number listed on the independent-expenditure report Feb. 28, but received no response by press time.

The document can be found at bit.ly/2EkalB5.

Wilson clarified multiple times that he is not endorsed by Garcia and did not intend on distributing false information to the public.

“I have to touch base with my consultants, but I am not endorsed by Robert Garcia,” Wilson said.

Derek Humphrey, Wilson’s campaign consultant, spoke to the Signal Tribune in a phone interview Feb. 27 and explained that, legally speaking, Wilson cannot be in contact with any independent entities during his campaign– something that prevents him from communicating the endorsement error to the group.

“Our campaign can have no coordination or contact with any independent groups that are communicating on our behalf,” he said.

Candidate Keir Jones said “it’s absolutely true” in a phone interview Feb. 27 that Wilson cannot communicate with those who filed independent expenditures on his behalf, but he did criticize Wilson for not immediately releasing a message on social media or through email to the public about the error.

In an email shared with the Signal Tribune the morning of Feb. 28, Kim Boles, deputy city clerk, shared an additional independent-expenditure filing from the Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson for City Council 2019 group with Signal Hill City Council candidates Wilson, Jones and Tina Hansen. The second mailer again showed Garcia’s alleged endorsement of Wilson.

“Chris, this is the second piece that inaccurately shows your endorsements,” Jones wrote in an email directed at Wilson that morning. “You should provide some clarity to your supporters via social media or via press release that corrects the misinformation that is being communicated via the attached mailer.”

At press time Feb. 28, Wilson reached out to the Signal Tribune and shared a statement on social media that clarified the situation.

“A third-party group called ‘Citizens Supporting Chris Wilson for City Council’ recently sent out a mail piece in support of my campaign that claimed I had received the endorsement of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia,” Wilson’s Feb. 28 post read. “I do not have Robert Garcia’s endorsement. I believe this group made an honest mistake, and all of the other information and endorsements listed on their flyer is accurate. Because this group is engaged in what is called an independent expenditure, I am not allowed to communicate with them. However, I wanted to set the record straight. Now, back to knocking on doors.”