A mailer promoting a pro-growth initiative endorsed by the City Council erroneously stated that the city is paying a portion of the costs of the campaign, backers of the measure said Thursday.
The mailers, which went to as many as 5,000 residents, stated that postage for an absentee ballot application would be paid for by the addressee, listed as City Clerk Myrna Erway.
Rick Manter, vice president of Nelson-Padberg Communications, a Costa Mesa public relations firm, which prepared the mailer, called the mistake "unfortunate."
"I have no connection or business with this--I'm not involved at all," Erway said. "The postage will be paid by them, not by me."
A backer of a rival initiative that would limit growth in the city to 500 units a year called the mailer "disturbing."
"It implies she (Erway) is endorsing this and (is) a use of a city function by a political group," said Tom Lorch, co-author of the slow-growth initiative.
The mailer, sent out earlier this week, included a tear-off absentee ballot application pre-addressed to "Myrna Erway, City Clerk." Postage for the application would be paid by the addressee, the mailer said, which gave the impression that the city was helping to pay the cost of the mailing.
Floyd Cate, a member of Citizens Against Bureaucracy, the group that paid for the mailer, said the mistake occurred because the sample ballot applications were originally addressed to his group, which planned to collect them and then deliver them en masse to Erway.
A new law that took effect this year prohibited the group from collecting the absentee ballot applications. When the addressee was changed to the city clerk, the line ascribing the postage costs to the addressee should have been deleted but was not, Cate said.
"It also says First Class Mail Permit No. 10 (on the mailer)," Cate said. "That's us. We're paying the postage and always were."
Another part of the mailer, which delivers the group's campaign message, also carries the erroneous heading "To: Myrna Erway, City Clerk."