It’s going to be fun to watch the City of Burbank try to finesse this unprecedented “informational pamphlet” they’re planning on sending to the voters to get them to approve that unnecessary terminal. Because that’s what it’s clearly intended to do.
Here’s the FPPC guidelines for such an effort:
Prohibition on Campaign Related Mailings. Campaign related mailings are prohibited if all four of the following criteria are met:
1. Tangible and Delivered. The item sent is a tangible item such as a written document, video tape, record, or button and is delivered to the recipient at his or her residence, place of employment or business, or post office box.
2. Campaign Related. The item sent expressly advocates or unambiguously urges a particular result in an election.
The determination of whether a communication “expressly advocates” is relatively straightforward and is based on whether it contains so called “magic words” of advocacy such as: Vote For; Elect; Support; Cast Your Ballot; Vote Against; Defeat; Reject; or Sign Petitions For
A mailing “unambiguously urges a particular result in an election” if it: (1) can be reasonably characterized as campaign material or activity, and (2) is not a fair presentation of facts serving only an informational purpose when taking into account the style, tenor, and timing of the communication.
3. Public Funds. The agency pays to distribute the item, or pays costs, exceeding $50, reasonably related to designing, producing, printing, or formulating the content of the item including payments for polling, research, the salary, expenses, or fees of the agency’s employees, agents, vendors, or consultants with the intention of sending the item.
4. Mass Mailing. More than 200 substantially similar items are sent during the course of the election including items sent during the qualification drive or in anticipation of an upcoming election.
If this city pamphlet ends up concluding that there’s no other way but that we get a new terminal, or if it threatens or blackmails an adverse action if the vote ends up being a “no,” that’s urging a particular result.
If the pamphlet’s not any of those things, what form will it take? The city’s entire slant so far has been exactly that. They’d have to come up with something pretty novel then!