Council Tables Campaign Literature Discussion

An ordinance requiring all campaign literature from local municipal elections to be posted on the city's website is tabled by the City Council.

The West Hollywood City Council tabled a discussion at its Tuesday night meeting about posting campaign literature from local municipal elections on the city’s website.

Based on an ordinance that the city of Los Angeles has, this ordinance would have required copies of all campaign literature to be submitted to the City Clerk who would then post that material on the city’s website within two days. Email blasts regarding candidates would have been covered by the ordinance as would literature sent out from registered independent committees.

Councilmember John Duran expressed doubts, noting that West Hollywood election campaigns can get “really rough” especially toward the end. He noted that some campaigns send out hit pieces in the final days before the election and the candidates don’t have time to respond.

Councilmember John Heilman was worried about defamatory materials that are often sent out, concerned that the city might in some way be held liable by reposting the defamatory items on the website.

Heilman also expressed concerns about the city’s website becoming an archive for these campaign materials, worried that years later people might not understand the context of some of the materials.

Mayor Jeff Prang said he didn’t want to contribute in any way to the nasty literature that gets sent out, concerned that people might specifically create literature just so it would be posted on the city’s website.

The Council voted 5-0 to table the matter.


joninla September 06, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Well WHO THEN BROUGHT THIS BACK FOR ANOTHER VOTE? Did John Heilman hope nobody would notice and it would get passed. He was the one who originally was part of this issue when the bogus 'Election Reforms' were proposed (and thankfully dropped after the obvious non-reforming nature and intent) within the last year. His stated 'concerns' are exactly what he was hoping to accomplish. WHO OF THE 5 SUDDENLY BROUGHT THIS TO THE COUNCIL AND WHO SECONDED IT FOR MONDAY'S AGENDA. ?? Heilman/Land - it's one vote that are always in agreement.??
scott ferguson September 06, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Heilman and Land voted differently on some issue a couple meetings back. I doubt that this idea is constitutional - it sounds way too central-government control in nature, and a violation of free speech (if there is a penalty for not doing it). If the requirement were that a copy of every robocall, or a transcript of any live-person call had to be made available, that wouldn't pass muster. I agree it is best that some of the vile stuff that is sent out during campaigns should be exposed (last election, the worst by far was from those opposed to the incumbents), but I don't support this notion. The council was right to table it.
Djaluvit September 07, 2012 at 09:18 AM
Council Member John D'Amico, his Deputy Michelle Rex, City Attorney Michael Jenkins, and City Clerk Corey Schaffer are all listed as being the presenters of this legislative, ordinance amending proposal. It was Legislative Item 6.A. on the council agenda, and it did NOT require a second at the actual council meeting -- it was already a part of the official agenda. After discussion of the item, it was tabled on a 5 to 0 vote.
Rudolf Martin September 07, 2012 at 03:59 PM
It might suffice to post links to all the candidates' and incumbents' official campaign sites as a service to the voter. I would add to the valid concerns of the council members that the term 'campaign literature' is an insult to the art form literature.


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