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ELECTIONS / LANCASTER CITY COUNCIL : 3 Accused of Unfair Use of Mailing Labels


LANCASTER — In 11th-hour election maneuverings, a Lancaster voter has complained to the state Fair Political Practices Commission that three City Council incumbents unfairly used city property for their reelection campaigns by buying city-printed absentee voter mailing labels.

And a Los Angeles County fire captain running for Lancaster City Council for the third time in Tuesday's election accused Mayor Arnie Rodio of threatening his job.

Registered voter David McBride complained that City Clerk Barbara Howard sold mailing labels of voters who had requested absentee ballots to the committees to reelect Councilmen George Root and Henry Hearns and Mayor Rodio.

Other candidates said they were not informed by the clerk's office that they could purchase the mailing labels.

Candidate Michael Singer said that when he called Howard after learning about the incumbents' joint flyer, she offered to print out the labels for him and said she hadn't thought to call all the candidates.

A spokeswoman for the Fair Political Practice Commission said the issue would not fall under the commission's jurisdiction. However, she said she did not believe the city clerk would be under any obligation to call candidates and inform them that the mailing list was available.

The spokeswoman stressed that the question would fall under the city attorney or a city manager's jurisdiction. Neither official could be reached. However, the city's public information officer said city staff had determined earlier in the week that neither Howard nor the candidates were at fault.

"We looked into what had happened and incumbents had requested public information. And they paid $1.71 a sheet for mailing labels. This is a service that is available to any candidate or any citizen because they are public record," spokeswoman Nancy Walker said.

"We bought copies of the labels, which is perfectly legal and above board," Root said. "They can file all the complaints they want. They're just grasping at straws."

On Friday, Michael Singer, a Los Angeles County fire captain, accused Rodio of threatening his job during a confrontation Thursday at City Hall.

Singer said Rodio told him after an argument: "You're a fire captain with the L. A. County Fire Department. I am going to show them what kind of a captain you are."

Rodio did not return telephone messages left at his office and home Friday afternoon.

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