Press Release Posted 3/17/18 – The City of Sierra Madre has put TeaPac and the two proponents of Measure D on notice that they must immediately cease and desist the unauthorized use of the City’s logo in their Stop the UUT campaign literature, or face legal consequences, including a potential lawsuit. After receiving telephone calls and emails from confused or angry residents demanding to know why the City’s well-known and loved wistaria logo was being used in Measure D campaign materials, the City was forced to take immediate action to stop the deception.
Use of the City’s logo without express written consent is a violation of the Sierra Madre Municipal Code and may be enjoined as a public nuisance or enforced as a misdemeanor. Use of a city logo or seal in campaign materials in a manner that misleads or gives a false impression that the campaign materials are authorized by a public official is also a violation of state law.
Unlike private committees and initiative proponents, Sierra Madre is held to a higher standard by the Fair Political Practices Commission to communicate only truthful and accurate information to the community on the impacts of proposed initiatives, and cannot produce campaign literature. The use of the City logo to communicate false information in campaign literature is deceptive and misleading. The March 8th TeaPac email, which used the City’s logo, contained several false statements about the City’s fiscal condition.
The Utility User Tax (UUT), which is a 10% local tax on utilities, produces $2.6 million in revenue annually, making up 24% of the General Fund, and pays for Police, Fire, Library and Community Services. The Fiscal Impact Report which analyzes the effects of Measure D on Sierra Madre is available at www.CityofSierraMadre.com, by clicking on the link titled Fiscal Impact Report on the home page. This report outlines what is likely to happen to these services if Measure D is approved and 24% ($2.6M) of revenue is removed from the City’s General Fund.
Mayor Rachelle Arizmendi, stated “This City Council has worked hard to keep our police and fire services here in Sierra Madre while still maintaining a balanced budget. The UUT is an integral part of that. I trust our residents, who overwhelmingly supported the UUT just two years ago, know this and will not be fooled by false statements from TeaPac. But using our City logo to try to confuse people about supporting Measure D is beyond the pale and we have to just say “No.”
Click here for the text of the Cease and Desist letter.
Having some website issues, hope to be adding Exhibits A and B to this story soon.