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By Jonathan Goetz

November 3, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Deceptive mailers have been sent to voters in El Cajon and Lemon Grove, readers tell ECM.

The San Diego County Democratic Party has endorsed Vickie Butcher, Stephanie Harper and Ben Kalasho in the El Cajon City Council Race. But a reader has alerted ECM that a mailer claims El Cajon Democrats endorsed Butcher as well as Humbert Cabrera and Steve Goble.  Cabrera and Goble have not been endorsed by any political party.

In Lemon Grove, a “COPS Guide” falsely states that mayoral candidate Racquel Vasquez is supported by police and fire.  In fact, the city’s firefighters have endorsed her opponent, George Gastil.  The deputy Sheriff’s association, which serves Lemon Grove, has not made any endorsement in this race.

The flyers are the latest in a string of deceptive mailers landing in voters’ mailboxes across the County. It is unclear who is behind the phony information being sent in these communities.

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So let me get this straight..

So let me get this straight... Lemon Grove is covered in signs that say "Firefighters support George Gastil" when in truth the Firefighters "union" supports George Gastil, which isn't mentioned or specific, and obviously not every firefighter, but he is making it seem like it is so. It should say specifically which union as well. Then we have the "cops" flyer, which I had to fish out of our recycle bin which says "A proven leader, committed to results! Local law enforcement and firefighters say Raquel Vasquez is the best choice for Mayor of LG!" Which means specific firefighters and law enforcement who live in Lemon Grove, not the unions, but it's just as vague about this as George is. Now we have this article, that is saying the same vague term "firefighters support" is deceptive as if the "union" is the sole arbiter of who actual firefighters support. They are not specific in details, quoting the exact verbiage, which to me is just frankly sloppy reporting. I also wonder why the reporter didn't also ask for either accused candidates response, but then that seems lately the standard of journalism, next thing they are going to say they found some of Racquel's emails too. Neither party was specific, both are using hyperbole, and are not being deceptive any more than any other politician. Seems to me those in glass houses, should not throw stones. And this is frankly a Petty issue which isn't worth any time or effort, about a flyer which is going to be put into the recycle bin along with all the other junk mail.

Deceit of Omissions

Life is often about shades of gray. A truth with omissions, as we see here, is one of those instances. When an omission is committed with the intent to deceive, the receiving party has to decide where the intent falls in that gray scale between truth and lie. If I were to say here that George Gastil has been endorsed by several former presidents that would be the truth. The omission is that the former presidents would former Lemon Grove Music Parent Katie Dexter and myself. While truthful in every sense, it's the intent to deceive that should drive the statement to the disingenuous side of the gray scale. The statement made by candidate Vasquez in the slate mailer belongs securely on the deceitful side of that gray scale. How far is up to the receiver.

Slate mailers are intended to be misleading

It is very common for candidates to buy their way onto a slate mailer. One reason is that it's an inexpensive way to promote your campaign. Another reason is to purposely mislead voters into thinking that you are endorsed by a particular association or organization when you are not. For instance, a COPS mailer when you have not been endorsed by your local law enforcement association, a democratic mailer when you are not endorsed by the Democratic party, a Latino mailer when you are not Latino or endorsed by any professional Latino associations. Candidates work very hard to secure endorsements from these professional associations. Voters need to have the correct information and not be misled by slate mailers.


I find it interesting that Ms. Vazquez claims she supports all these events she attends. I'm not sure showing up 30 minutes or more late, taking photos and then leaving is called support. I call that a photo op...and I'm not the only one in this city that feels that way. I wan't a mayor that doesn't have a hidden agenda and really truly cares about the direction of this city...that person is george gastil.

Racquel is Above Board - Endorsed by Indusrty Professionals

Local law enforcement and firefighters have individually endorsed Racquel Vasquez for Mayor of Lemon Grove, signature cards are on file. These individuals are currently employed or have retired from the San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire Department, San Diego Unified Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, and Heartland Fire and Rescue, etc. Her campaign was also endorsed by elected officials, appointed officials, planning commissioners, union members, business owners, faith based community leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, water industry professionals, environmentalist, engineers, government employees, and residents of Lemon Grove. All of these individuals took time to fill out the card of support and sign on the dotted line. She is humbled and grateful to have their support. It is common practice for candidates to reach voters through emails, social media, targeted voter guides and direct mail literature. The COPS voter guide was one of five selected to support her campaign. It allows up to three lines of information with a limited number of spaces to convey one important message to voters. Racquel is committed to putting people and community first! Her vision is for Lemon Grove to be a thriving, safe, and business-friendly City, offering arts, culture, and recreational opportunities for everyone to enjoy. She will protect community services, eliminate government waste, support economic growth and neighborhood improvements. For more information, visit


You can't claim endorsements from an organization without them actually endorsing you..getting endorsements from individual members of that organization is not an organizational's just that simple...and the cops flyer is simply misleading

Deception Belongs To The Candidate

I've seen the Lemon Grove flyer and the deception clearly belongs to candidate Vasquez. The article is correct in stating that the Firefighters have endorsed Gastil and the Deputy Sheriff's have taken no position. The same paid slate mailer has an ad for measure V that claims more regulation and oversight for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (MMD). In fact the city has had a ban voted into law by two separate ballot measures since 2012. The current measure would allow 15 separate medical dispensaries in our little 3.7 square mile town and in some cases adjacent to residential neighborhoods. To compound the problem and deception with this measure it includes a 3-year moratorium on any zoning changes that would regulate MMDs. If one opens up next to your home it's there to stay because a review in three years will not have the legal backing to remove it.

COPS campaign slate mail organization has a great reputation.

I have used COPS every campaign season and they have always been one of the top mail organizations and highly respected. COPS provides for the candidate's, themselves, to write 3-4 statements, against a colorful backdrop with spots for sale. The COPS guide never makes statements on behalf of the candidate. I also know Racquel and have always known her to be above board, so I'm not sure how this happened?