Yesterday we fact checked a signature collector named Jeff Smith, who was quoted in the Union-Tribune telling Target shoppers that a plan to expand the San Diego Unified school board would add “more teacher voices” to the board. That statement is misleading, since anybody could be added to the board.

Turns out that the name he gave to a U-T reporter was even more than misleading. It was false. When we tried to track down Jeff Smith for the fact check, the consultant in charge said they didn’t have a Jeff Smith working for them.

We couldn’t find him at the Mission Valley Target to ask him about his misstatement. But the U-T did yesterday after we started asking about him — and they reported that “Jeff Smith” fessed up about fudging his name:

The signature gatherer acknowledged to The Watchdog on Tuesday that he lied about his name because he was afraid of getting into trouble for setting up shop outside Target.

“This is very competitive, people are cutthroat. People get up at 3 a.m. to stake out a place to work,” said the worker, who declined to disclose his real name. “This place is a gold mine, but I don’t want to mess things up. I’m not trying to give anyone bad information, I’m just doing my part to get this to a ballot so the people can decide.”

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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