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Santa Clarita Backers to Request Probe of Foes' Political Tactics

November 13, 1987|MAYERENE BARKER | Times Staff Writer

Santa Clarita cityhood proponents said Thursday that they will call for an investigation into allegations that two developer-financed groups that campaigned against the incorporation effort violated election laws.

The City of Santa Clarita Formation Committee will mail formal complaints today to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said Louis Garasi, formation commission vice chairman.

Garasi said the two political committees, the Coalition for the Right City and the Santa Clarita Caution Committee, made inaccurate statements in advertising and mailers shortly before the overwhelming Nov. 3 vote to incorporate.

Representatives of the two committees have not responded to inquiries by The Times since the election.

At issue in the complaint against the Santa Clarita Caution Committee is a political flyer mailed to voters stating that, if Santa Clarita became a city, it could cost 10% more on utility bills.

"They implied something that is not correct," Garasi said. "Such a tax requires at two-thirds vote of the people."

Flyer Draws Fire

Also, a copy of a Southern California Edison Co. bill was printed on the flyer without the utility's permission, an Edison spokeswoman said. The bill was stamped "Add 10%."

Edison officials, claiming neutrailty, said before the vote that the company's bill was illegally used.

The complaint against the Coalition for the Right City involves a Nov. 1 advertisement in the Newhall Signal urging a "no" vote on cityhood, but also asking voters to send $1 to the cityhood committee so that a campaign could be started to form a larger city.

Garasi said he did not believe that the coalition wanted a city at all, no matter what size.

"They indicated they were for cityhood," Garasi said. "By state law, a political action committee is not allowed to change its goal. It would seem that they broke the law."

The coalition registered with both the secretary of state's office and the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder as a committee opposed to cityhood.

Garasi said that, when contacted by telephone, FPPC and district attorney's representatives encouraged the cityhood committee to file formal complaints in writing. Spokesmen for the FPPC and the district attorney's office refused comment Thursday.

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