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False claims are flying in the San Diego City Council District 4 election with less than a month to go.
The conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego County sent out a mailer in the district attacking Democratic candidate Myrtle Cole (Cole’s opponent, Dwayne Crenshaw, is also a Democrat). It reads: “Myrtle Cole is responsible for $10,000 in San Diego Ethics Commission fines.”
That claim might look familiar.
We fact checked it during the primary when a shadowy PAC used the same claim in a different mailer. We called the claim Huckster Propaganda, our worst rating.
The commission fined Young $10,000 for collecting campaign contributions after the city’s then-three-month deadline to pay off campaign workers. (The deadline was later extended to six months.) A fundraising limit exists to fight the appearance of a quid pro quo between elected officials and donors.
Cole was Young’s campaign manager for that race. Young had promised her a $10,000 bonus for winning the election, and he was fundraising after the race to pay that bonus and another he promised to a consultant. Young took 13 months to pay Cole and 18 months to pay the consultant. That meant it took him 15 months longer then he was allowed to pay off the debts.
Young, not Cole, was responsible for the ethics fine. Young simply owed Cole money and took a long time to pay it back.
The mailer also includes iffy statements about Cole’s residency and time as a police officer.
Those situations are a little more complicated. Cole moved from Arizona to San Diego decades ago. She lived in Redwood Village, which is part of the new District 4 boundaries created during the redistricting process. But the special election to replace Young is being conducted under the old lines because that was the constituency that voted in 2010 for Young’s four-year term. Cole moved to Paradise Hills, which is part of District 4 under both the old and new boundaries, in late December, just beating the residency requirement deadline for this race. (Cole’s supporters have misrepresented her residency before too.)
When Cole came to San Diego, she worked as a police officer for the local community college system, eventually becoming a lieutenant. She’s never worked for the San Diego Police Department. Cole left the community college system in the mid-1980s, and began working in politics.
T.J. Zane, head of the Lincoln Club, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers how regular people interact with local government.
Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5663.
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