Text of Cease and Desist Letter from City to Proponents of Measure D

Posted 3/17/18 –       See City Press Release here

March 16, 2018
936 E. Green Street, Suite 100
Pasadena, CA 91106
California Tax Limitation Committee
Earl Richey
134 Esperanza Ave.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
David McMonigal
233 Ramona Ave.
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
Demand to Cease and Desist Unauthorized Use of the City of Sierra Madre Logo
Dear Mr. Richey and Mr. McMonigal,
I have been directed by the City Council to contact each of you, the California Tax Limitation Committee, and TeaPAC regarding your unauthorized and unlawful use of the City of Madre logo in your campaign literature.
The City’s current logo was has been designated as the “official city logo” and as such, “[i]t is unlawful for any person, corporation, partnership or other entity to use city copyrighted images or to reproduce, copy or create any similar facsimile of such images without having first obtained the express written consent of the city council.” (Sierra Madre Municipal Code § 2.08.130.) Furthermore, using a city’s logo, letterhead or seal with the intent to deceive voters into thinking the communication is from a city is a violation of California election law under California Elections Code § 18304, which states:
(a) Any person who uses or allows to be used any reproduction or facsimile of the seal of the county or the seal of a local government agency in any campaign
March 16, 2018
Page 2
literature or mass mailing, as defined in Section 82041.5 of the Government Code,
with intent to deceive the voters, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) For purposes of this section, the use of a reproduction or facsimile of a seal in
a manner that creates a misleading, erroneous, or false impression that the
document is authorized by a public official is evidence of intent to deceive. (c) For
purposes of this section, the term “local government agency” means a school
district, special or other district, or any other board, commission, or agency of local
Furthermore, under California Government Code Section 34501.5(a):
“[a]ny person who uses or allows to be used any reproduction of facsimile of the
seal of the city in any campaign literature or mass mailing, as defined in Section
82041.5, with intent to deceive the voters, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
On or about March 8, 2018, the California Tax Limitation Committee sent an email to its
mailing list titled “Sierra Madre Shocking Election Facts Tues April 10 2018.” A true and
correct copy of that email is attached as Exhibit A. The email unlawfully and without
express written consent used the following City logo in conjunction with election
campaign materials for the April 10, 2018 municipal elections:
This action was unlawful and violated the City’s municipal code and state law; in fact,
several persons contacted various City officials regarding confusion over the source of
the information in the context of your Measure D campaign materials. The City does not
take lightly the unauthorized use of its City seal or logo. When such unauthorized use is
combined with campaign materials (containing false and misleading statements)
implying your actions are endorsed by the City or that you are acting on behalf of the
City, the unauthorized use rises to the level of a violation of state law. The City will not
tolerate this conduct and to the fullest extent permitted by law will take appropriate
actions against the unauthorized use of the City logo. Therefore, the City demands that
both of you and anyone acting on your behalf CEASE AND DESIST immediately any
and all use of the City’s logo, insignia, and seal.
March 16, 2018
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The City hopes this letter will resolve the matter and no further action will be needed.
However, should you or anyone acting on your behalf continue to use the City’s logo, the
City is prepared to take all appropriate legal action to protect the City’s rights, including,
but not limited to, a civil action seeking an injunction and/or declaratory relief and any
other available legal remedies, including damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees as permitted
by law. Please see the draft complaint that has been prepared to this end, attached as
Exhibit B.
This letter is not a complete statement of the City’s rights regarding its logo or its potential
causes of actions against you in this matter, and is not intended and should not be
construed as an express or implied waiver of any rights, remedies, or defenses the City
may have in connection with this matter.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.
Gabriel L. Engeland
City Manager
City of Sierra Madre
Mayor and City Council, City of Sierra Madre
Teresa L. Highsmith, City Attorney, City of Sierra Madre