The campaign attacks seem to get worse every year, and the 2012 election is no exception.

San Diegans are enduring plenty of nasty commercials, mailers and online posts.

We put together a list of some of the worst offenders.

District 1 dig on Councilwoman Sherri Lightner

Two recent mailers accused the councilwoman of political corruption and say she rewarded campaign supporters with taxpayer money.

“Councilmember Sherri Lightner voted to hand government employee unions $28 million in bonuses,” one read.

That claim turned out to be a doozy.

Our Fact Check found Lightner didn’t vote to give city staffers bonuses because she wasn’t on the council when the related program, Bid to Goal, was created. She actually voted to end the program once she was elected.

The mailers were funded by District 1 candidate Ray Ellis, who hopes to unseat Lightner, and the Lincoln Club of San Diego County.

Mailer claims San Diego College Board candidate believes guns should be allowed on campus

This mailer features an eerie photo, and as U-T San Diego noted, its subject doesn’t even get a first name.

The ad says San Diego Community College District candidate “opponent Hasson” thinks college students should be allowed to openly carry firearms.

Hasson , whose first name is Scott, said that he supports the Second Amendment but called the mailer “blatantly false.”

The mailer was funded by the American Federation of Teachers Guild Local 1931 and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Districts Committee on Political Education.

Connection blown out of proportion

Palomar College Board President Darrell McMullen isn’t just a 71-year-old grandfather.

He’s also the co-founder of a “real sex doll company,” according to a recent mailer featuring photos of several blow-up dolls.

But McMullen, who is running for another term on the board, told U-T San Diego he simply helped with paperwork when his son founded his company, which according to the paper, “manufactures anatomically correct dolls as well prosthetic breasts for cancer victims and special effect items.”

That was more than a decade ago.

La Mesa council candidate accused of misrepresenting company as eyesore

A fight against trash and blight has been central to La Mesa council candidate Laura Lothian’s campaign but it’s also caused her problems in two different races.

The owners of Hunter’s Carpet in La Mesa told East County Magazine that Lothian posted a deceptive photo of carpet piled up near the business that was likely removed soon after.

The photo appeared on the candidate’s website as an example of “blight” and on a blog post.

This wouldn’t seem so nasty if Lothian hadn’t been accused of a similar misstep before.

In 2010, auto shop workers told U-T San Diego they watched Lothian pick up trash in a nearby parking lot and put it in a fenced corner.

“Lothian then posed with one of her campaign posters in the front of the pile of garbage,” according to an auto shop staffer.

That photo was also posted on Lothian’s website.

Guilted into voting?

Earlier this week, U-T San Diego wrote about a mailer that irritated some Republicans.

“A recent analysis of your public voting record revealed that you failed to vote in recent elections,” says the mailer, which apparently displays the voter’s name. “There is no excuse for failing to vote in another election.” The mailer was sent by the state Republican Party.

Some disgruntled registered Republicans contacted the U-T to say they had actually never missed an election.

So why the guilt trip?

Local GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric later admitted the party had “messed up on that list.”

Mailer claims school board candidate was fired

A recent campaign mailer suggested San Diego Unified School District candidate Mark Powell was fired from his position as vice principal at a middle school because he was an “ineffective campus leader.”

Our Will Carless checked the facts and ended up giving that claim our worst ruling: Huckster Propaganda, which means the statement was not only false but the group putting together the mailer likely knew that.

The Associated Federation of Teachers, which funded the mailer, was probably pretty aware of the context.

Powell was one of 15 school leaders reassigned to classroom gigs by then-Superintendent Alan Bersin, a move that made headlines. Eleven of the administrators later sued over the demotions and ended up victorious in court.

Carless noted the irony: A teachers union is attacking Powell for being demoted by a superintendent they despised.

Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that McMullen was a San Marcos college board candidate. He is running for another term on the Palomar College board, located in San Marcos.

Lisa Halverstadt is the newest reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at or 619.325.0528.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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