Some Turlock residents were angered after receiving a insert for Measure B in this month’s utility bill.
“They’re trying to tell us how to vote. They’re trying to pass this measure as if we’re a bunch of sheep,” said one resident.
The insert included the website www.FixTurlockRoads.com on it. That’s a political website that urges voters to vote yes on Measure B. Parts of the website were copied verbatim onto the insert.
“The city shouldn’t be shoving it down our throats,” said Turlock resident Jeff Pillow.
If passed, the measure would add a citywide half cent sales tax. Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden says 100% of the money would go toward city roads.
Political attorney Brian Hildreth says what the city sent out isn’t ok.
“I think it’s a problem that they took the material directly from a campaign political website…It’s the city, unambiguously urging a particular result in an election, which violates the Supreme Court precedent,” said Hildreth.
We asked Wasden if he thought the insert could sway voters.
“I don’t know what you want me to tell you. You’ve got the flyer. You see what it says. I’m not going to interpret it further,” said City Manager Roy Wasden.
Wasden admits he should have done things differently.
“I would have liked to have given it greater scrutiny. There were some time tables that didn’t allow for that. That’s where we’re at,” said Wasden.
The logo on the insert is also very similar to the logo on the campaign website.
“A prudent voter would be mislead about what the insert was in their utility bill. Because it looks so similar to the campaign website,” said Hildreth.
Hildreth says the city could face consequences.
“The public official that approved the political mailing could be held to personally repay the city coffers for the amount of money that it cost to prepare and transmit the mailing,” said Hildreth.