The California FPPC sent out photos of the allegedly offending campaign signs, pictured here, in an effort to gain public information about the potential violation.

Investigators from the California Fair Political Practices Commission are asking for the public’s help in determining who posted illicit anti-Measure I campaign signs in Morgan Hill before the March 3 election.

The lawn signs, of which an FPPC spokesman sent photos to the media, state in all caps, “NO! ON MEASURE I; NO PROPERTY TAX INCREASE!” The lettering is white on a red background.

The signs are in violation of state political campaign laws because they do not state who placed or paid for the advertisements, FPPC Communications Director Jay Wierenga said in an email.

“Enforcement Division is looking for information on these cases so as to find out who is responsible, so the public can at least get some information, even if it is after the election,” Wierenga stated.

FPPC authorities became aware of the signs through the commission’s AdWATCH program, which allows members of the public to report campaign signs and advertisements that may be questionable in terms of their legally required disclosure under the California Political Reform Act. The program allows the public to anonymously upload photos and videos of the advertising they wish to report.

Wierenga released four photos reported to AdWATCH that depicted the questionable anti-Measure I signs.

Measure I was sponsored by the Morgan Hill Unified School District and would have allowed the district to sell up to $900 million worth of bonds over the next 30 years. The measure failed at the ballot box, with about 61 percent of voters voting “No.”

In February, supporters of Measure I reported that a vandal or vandals had defaced and destroyed some lawn signs promoting the March 3 bond measure. Members of the campaign committee “Friends of MHUSD,” which was formed in support of Measure I, also said someone has placed one of the allegedly illegal “NO” signs next to the destroyed “Yes” signs.

A violation of the Political Reform Act can result in a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. However, the penalty for a prosecuted violation can range from a warning letter, up to the maximum monetary fine. The penalty for a specific violation depends on the violation’s harm to the public, the type of violation, previous history of those responsible and other factors, Wierenga explained.

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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