Morning Report: Poway Toes the Legal Line With Bond Messaging - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: Poway Toes the Legal Line With Bond Messaging

The headquarters of the Poway Unified School District. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

Next Tuesday, Poway voters will decide on a $448 million bond measure that would increase local taxes to pay for school facility improvements. 

Public agencies, like Poway Unified School District, are only supposed to spend money providing impartial information to voters about such measures. They are not supposed to use public funds to craft and promote messaging in support of or against a measure. But Poway Unified may be skating extremely close to the line, reports Ashly McGlone. 

Poway officials haven’t overtly and specifically told residents to vote for Measure P, as it’s known. But they have created supportive banners at school sites, social media posts and videos. 

“By passing a bond measure, a community is saying, ‘Yes. We support our local schools and are willing to invest in them and support them!” says Poway’s superintendent in one video. “We want our schools to remain the pinnacles of our communities and we want to ensure that they are continually maintained, upgraded and in the best possible condition for the future generations!’”

In the past, the Fair Political Practices Commission has fined public agencies even when they didn’t overtly tell the public to vote “yes” or “no” on a particular measure. “Messaging that ‘unambiguously urges’ a particular result in an election has earned other government agencies fines from the commission in recent years,” McGlone reports. 

Mara Elliott Is Back (in the VOSD Podcast Studio)

When Mara Elliott ran for city attorney in 2015, she promised to be a dispassionate and apolitical legal counsel on behalf of the people. It hasn’t turned out that way.

In a new podcast, Elliott talked to Scott Lewis about some of her more controversial stands and her evolving view of the job. They focused on her handling of the Mission Valley stadium deal — she initially argued that the whole thing was illegal — and her attempt to overhaul the California Public Records Act.

Elliott is running for re-election. We also sent multiple interview requests to Cory Briggs, one of her opponents, but he never responded. 

  • We published two more special podcast interviews with former state Sen. Joel Anderson and Kenya Taylor, who are both running to represent District 2 on the County Board of Supervisors, which covers parts of East County. The seat has been represented by Dianne Jacob since the 1990s, but term limits have kicked in, opening the seat. Check out those interviews here. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, who’s also running, did not respond to our requests for an interview.

Local Pols Cast Twitter Shade

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Assemblyman Todd Gloria praised County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher for making the county embrace its role in the homeless crisis, in this case by identifying possible locations for the county’s first shelter.

County Supervisor Diane Jacob jumped in with some classic passive aggressive energy, tweeting: “Thanks Todd! Always good to hear your thoughts about a proposal (County Supervisor Jim Desmond) and I brought forward.”

Gloria waited a couple hours before getting in his own dig: “Bless your heart Supervisor Jacob.”

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry, Jesse Marx and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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