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Mailers are piling up in North County ahead of the June 5 primary. / Photo by Ruarri Serpa

Amid the flood of mailers piling up on my kitchen table are a recent spate of ads targeting the 76th Assembly District.

Three of the mailers were put out by the California Republican Party against Encinitas Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, a Democrat. Two were in support of Boerner Horvath — one by her own campaign, and another by the group Million More Voters and the California Labor Federation.

Campaign finance filings show Republicans are spending big to oppose Boerner Horvath and another Democrat in the race, Elizabeth Warren.

Historically, the race has not been competitive for Democrats, but Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez’s decision to run for Congress changed the dynamic. His departure caused a flood of candidates from both sides, including the first Democrats to run in several election cycles.

According to their filings, the California Republican Party spent a total of about $95,000 opposing Boerner Horvath and Warren on mailers and Facebook ads in recent weeks.

The Republicans are criticizing Boerner Horvath for voting to raise City Council pay after she was elected, appointing campaign donors to city commissions and “voting yes to raising your gas taxes.”

That last claim stands out, because Boerner Horvath has not yet been elected to the Assembly and therefore was never in a position to vote “yes” on the gas tax. The mailer cites an Encinitas City Council meeting, in March 2017, during which the Council considered voicing its support to state legislators in support of AB 1 and SB 1, which raised the gas tax and vehicle fees. After a brief discussion, the City Council unanimously voted to express support for both bills. But as a local body, the Council can’t make statewide policy. That decision fell on the Legislature.

In the meantime, state Democrats have spent only $10,650 on mailers against Republican businessman Phil Graham.

Graham, the stepson of Gov. Pete Wilson, was also the target of Facebook ads by Million More Voters, some of which focused on a recent investigation.

Which brings us to …

Sheriff Clears Graham of Wrongdoing

Last week, a woman came forward to claim that Graham had inappropriately touched her in an Encinitas bar, but the Sheriff’s Department has cleared him of wrongdoing, The Coast News reports.

Reporter Aaron Burgin noted that there were inconsistencies in the woman’s story to different media outlets and that she’d been hit over the years with restraining orders for allegedly filing false reports.

When news of the sheriff’s investigation first broke, Graham’s campaign said the accusation was politically motivated.

A day after Graham was cleared of wrongdoing, the group Million More Voters pulled its critical Facebook ads highlighting the woman’s claims.

Fallbrook School Losing Students and Crucial Funds

Mission Vista High School opened in Oceanside in 2009, and as a magnet school offering an accelerated course pace, drew students from all over North County. For neighboring Fallbrook High School, that’s led to a sharp drop in enrollment.

KPBS reports that Fallbrook High School has gone from 3,000 students in 2009 to about 2,000 students today. When students leave the school, their money goes with them. Over the past decade, students leaving Fallbrook High School have taken about $4.5 million in funding to other schools.

“We are in unprecedented times right now when you think about the contributions that districts are making towards benefits of employees,” Jose Iniguez, assistant superintendent of the Fallbrook Union High School District, told KPBS. “That’s exacerbated by the fact that we have a decrease in students, a decrease in revenue. So when it comes to things we would like to do, we’re no longer able to do.”

Slow-Growth Initiative Had $100,000 Paperwork Error

The backers of the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside initiative — which would require new housing developments in unincorporated areas that deviate from the county’s general plan to get voter approval — said a paperwork filing error led to incorrect campaign finance disclosure reports regarding a nearly $100,000 donation being filed with the county.

One of the opponents of the initiative sued the group behind it, San Diegans for Managed Growth, demanding it follow state campaign finance laws. San Diegans for Managed Growth chalked it up to a paperwork error and said it would be corrected this week, the Union-Tribune reports.

At issue was a $98,500 donation to the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside campaign that was reported by San Diegans for Managed Growth as coming from themselves. They said the true source of the money was one donation from Endangered Habitats League, whose executive director, Dan Silver, sits on the board of San Diegans for Managed Growth.

Also in the News

Ruarri Serpa

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at ruarris@gmail.com and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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