KSBY political ad chopped, but participants still feeling the heat
May 27, 2014
UPDATE: The South County Advisory Council Chair Sandra Caughell responded with the following comment: “The concern was the reference to South County Advisory Council in Ms. Ray’s campaign ad. We as a council do not endorse any candidates for office or will we in the future, it is against our by-laws to do so.”
By KAREN VELIE
After receiving several complaints, including one from San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, KSBY removed a portion of an ad showing governmental support for supervisor candidate Caren Ray.
While individuals are permitted to endorse and promote candidates for political office, government agencies are not. In addition, law enforcement agency logos are not permitted to be displayed in political advertisements.
In Ray’s original ad, which began running last week, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputy Matt Soenksen stands in front of the sheriff‘s department in full uniform and says, “Supervisor Ray helps us keep neighborhoods safe and secure for our families.”
Shortly after the ad began airing, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson asked KSBY to remove the portion of the ad showing the sheriff’s logo and alleging department support for Ray. Within hours, that portion of the ad was removed.
Nevertheless, it then was posted in its original form with the sheriff department logo on the elect Caren Ray Facebook page, though it was later changed.
After viewing the ad, an attorney for supervisor candidate Lynn Compton sent a cease and desist demand to the Arroyo Grande City Council, Lucia Mar School Board, the Oceano Community Services District and the South County Advisory Board, asking the agencies to have the Ray campaign remove the ad because it violates the law.
“It was an appalling attempt to imply that public agencies and even the sheriff endorsed Caren Ray, none of them have done that,” said Compton’s attorney Charles Bell, with the Sacramento based firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk.
Several days after the cease and desist demands were delivered, Ray changed her ad a third time. The latest version states that the “titles and organization names are for identification purposes only.”
Nevertheless, the disclaimer is in a type set similar in color to the commercial’s background and difficult to read.