Anonymous attack ads target Pismo Beach City Council candidate

October 30, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

Two anonymous attack ads targeting Pismo Beach Councilwoman Mary Ann Reiss were recently mailed to voters without the required disclosures in an apparent violation of the law.

The first flyer, sent Oct. 13, chastises Reiss for voting for a 20% raise for council members, or $154 a month, while staff was given a 4% raise. On one side of the flyer is “Oink!” On the other side is a picture of a dirty, fat pig eating at a trough full of money.

A week later, a flyer displaying a manipulated photo of Reiss kneeling in front of Darth Vader arrived in the mailboxes of Pismo Beach voters.

“Dark Lord, what do I have to do to win this election?” the flyer says. “Mary Ann Reiss will do anything to win this election.”

Mass mailings sent to 200 or more people require a disclaimer that says who paid for the advertisement, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Failure to abide by the requirement can lead to fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

Instead of garnering a mass mailing discount, which would have required the sender to disclose their identity, the sender stuck individual postage stamps on each flyer.

While it appears the sender attempted to hide their identity, they listed a website in which the domain name (iamyourfathermaryannreiss.com) was recently registered with GoDaddy, making it likely law enforcement will be able to identify the sender. The host recently redirected the URL to the Voters Edge page for Councilman Scott Newton.

Reiss, who was first elected to the council in 1996, has never lost an election. After learning of the second flyer, Reiss reached out to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and said she plans to file a complaint with the  FPPC.

“I am disappointed and hurt,” Reiss said. “I would like to find out who did this.”

Also vying for one of two seats on the council are retired border patrol agent Kevin Kreowski, attorney Stacy Inman, real estate broker and general contractor Deborah Lossing, and attorney and former councilman Erik Howell.


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Michael A.

On one hand she has been in office too long. On the other hand it sounds like whoever is responsible for this is probably being prevented from getting a payoff or will benefit by a candidate with whom they can get a payoff. A payoff would look like a city contract or decision favoring a pet project.


Gramelin

This is Interesting!! Cant wait to see who it was who did this, and how much its going to cost them! Minimum 200 X $5000 = $,1,000,000


jdchem

I wonder how many recipients have been identified?


Ron

According to the WHOIS info:


“iamyourfathermaryannreiss.com


Registrant Contact Information:


Name: Domains By Proxy, LLC

Registration Private

Organization: DomainsByProxy.com”


… and at DomainsByProxy.com, they write:


“We protect your identity

And only reveal it in special situations.


In special situations, it may be necessary for Domains By Proxy to reveal your name and personal information, such as:

– When required by law, or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary in order to conform to the edicts of the law

– To comply with a subpoena or other legal process served upon us

– To resolve any and all third party claims, whether threatened or made, arising out of your use of a domain name registered by Domains By Proxy on your behalf”


Sounds like Mary might have a “special situation” on her hands, and should (or her attorney) contact DomainsByProxy.com and ask them to ” conform to the edicts of the law.”


panflash

Excellent work, Ron.


paragon

Wow, Ron knows how to look up domain info on whois, which any 8 year old can do, and he still gives us zero useful information. BFD. It’s very simple and easy to get a privately registered domain. And most registrars don’t do any name verification, so it would be simple to use a fake name and mail drop. Good luck!


IDBOUND

Will it ever be possible to find and elect people that are not running for office just to get rich , or make their friends ,families and donors richer


Gman

I myself tend to be a bit cynical when it comes to politics, but do some homework before spreading cynicism and hate. I can’t believe any of the council are doing it for the lousy $11k a year which probably barely covers their gasoline costs.