Ashbaugh continues questionable use of city email

October 26, 2012

John Ashbaugh

Following the filing of a campaign misconduct complaint against incumbent San Luis Obispo City Councilman John Ashbaugh, the candidate for reelection once again made personal use of his public email account.

The city attorney’s office announced Tuesday that it is evaluating the legal complaint submitted by two challenging council candidates, as well as two mayoral candidates, charging Ashbaugh with three violations of state and city election code, including improper use of city email. The same day Ashbaugh used his city account to email mayoral candidate Steve Barasch, one of the complainants, about campaign matters.

Ashbaugh wrote Barasch Tuesday saying that he would suspend his response to an inquiry by the mayoral candidate because Barasch had signed the misconduct complaint. After a response from Barasch, Ashbaugh emailed him again Wednesday saying, “Game on, Steve.”

City Attorney Christine Dietick received the email exchange and sent a response to all council and mayoral candidates later Wednesday hinting that Ashbaugh had continued to violate election code.

“No campaign related communications should be conducted using city resources, including city computers and e-mail address,” Dietrick wrote in capital letters.

Dietrick acknowledged the exchange between Ashbaugh and Barasch and said it could not continue by way of city email.

“It appears from an exchange between candidates that was forwarded to me earlier today that there may still be confusion on this issue,” Dietrick said. “Please immediately cease any further debate or discussion of campaign related issues utilizing City e-mail addresses.”

Despite Dietrick’s response, Ashbaugh told CalCoastNews that it is debatable whether or not he again misused his city email account.

“I’ve since been informed that such an email should have been sent from my personal email account,” Ashbaugh said. “I think the matter is debatable, frankly.”

Ashbaugh also said that the issue of improperly emailing Barasch had less significance than the need to settle a conflict of interest matter between the two candidates. Ashbaugh said a conflict of interest issue arose when Barasch signed the complaint against him, thus preventing Ashbaugh from following through on Barasch’s inquiry.

“I do not perform such services only for constituents who support me,” Ashbaugh said. “When and if his complaint is resolved — and I expect that it will be resolved soon — then we can return to the original subject of our email conversation.”

Though Ashbaugh did not say he had misused his city email in the exchange with Barasch, his campaign website did announce Wednesday that the incumbent “owns up” to the improper use of his city account outlined in the complaint.

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Is there ANYONE who reads this forum willing to publicly endorse Kevin Rice, using their real, verifiable name?

I too wonder if the comments from “supporters” of Rice are not actually from him. Rice, by his own admission, is a computer hacker and quite clever. I consider him sneaky. The combination is something to consider.

There truly is a hint of desperation to your whining. Rather than continuing to attack Kevin Rice, why don’t you do something productive and campaign for your chosen candidates?

Kevin Rice probably posted most of these comments under multiple names. There are powerful people in this city who are looking into his online activities. Please read these posts critically. Please be sure to vote for people with integrity, people who do not spend most of their free time online smearing people’s reputations. This city needs people on the council who will serve the public with honesty and civility. KR is not that person. Nor is JA. There are better choices. You have better choices.

You’re digging yourself a deep hole “Big Sir.” At first I thought you were simply an Ashbaugh supporter who got their knickers in a twist after your boy got caught. Your continued whining then made me believe you might be Ashbaugh himself.

To be blunt, Ashbaugh isn’t dumb enough to make the comments you have been making. I also don’t think most of his supporters would be as emotional as you have been in trying to defend the undefendable by trying to shift the focus to other candidates through attacks.

No, you’re someone other than Ashbaugh with a material interest in Ashbaugh surviving his misdeeds. I now suspect you’re Cory Black who is actually getting paid to work on the Marx, Ashbaugh and Aranguena campaigns as a consultant. If you clients fail to get elected that won’t do much for your biz, will it, Cory?

And if your not Cory Black you’re an angry Democratic Central Committee insider like Patti Andreen who continues to covet an appointment to the SLO City Council. So keep digging that hole. It might just turn into a much-needed political grave for one of your clients/friends…

I happen to agree with Big Sir. The public needs to be warned about Kevin P. Rice. Thanks Big Sir!

I think we should all get together here and buy Councilman Ashbaugh a personal Gmail account.


I’ll chip in 2¢

Hopefully John will learn from his mistakes and soon, as no one who has the public’s trust is above the local laws, particularly those local laws that he, the current mayor and other council members initiated and strongly supported to deter this specific type of behavior from occurring!!

Why doesn’t Ashbaugh simply do the honorable thing and bow-out of the race? The nutty-professor shtick he resorts to when he does something wrong is getting mighty old. Take some accountability for your actions, Mr. Ashbaugh.

So that’s how one can use “honorable” and “Ashbaugh” in the same sentence! Thanks!

L.O.L After the November election, and the required audit… there will be much more to this story. Fingers in the cookie jar ?…….or bad personal relationships ?

That sounds about as exciting as seeing Kevin P. Rice step up to the SLO Council public speaker’s podium. The anticipation is killing me.

It’s a democratic disease, don’t own it and you are not accountable for it, it will just vanish.