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Campaign committee influencing Artesia & Hawaiian Gardens races, strong evidence of illegal coordination between committee & candidate Rene Trevino in Artesia

Monday Nov. 5, 2018
BY BRIAN HEWS

Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News has found that a questionable independent expenditure committee called Citizens for a Bright Tomorrow (Citizens) is spending thousands to defeat local candidates in the tiny towns of Artesia and Hawaiian Gardens.

Artesia and Hawaiian Gardens has not seen this type of vitriolic campaign in many years, top vote-getters in both cities might get a total of 900 votes.

In Artesia, Citizens is attacking incumbents Victor Manalo and Ali Taj; in Hawaiian Gardens, Citizens is slamming frontrunners Jesse Alvarado and Luis Roa, questionably tying the two to former State Senator Tony Mendoza.

HMG-LCCN has also found alarming connections between Citizens and Artesia candidate Rene Trevino, connections that will likely trigger an investigation from the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission into illegal campaign coordinating and financing.

It is illegal for any candidate to coordinate campaign related activities with an independent expenditure committee.

Citizens was opened this year with the treasurer listed as Long Beach based Gould and Orellana. The online documents do not designate the owner of Citizens, and emails into Gould went unreturned.

In September, Associated Construction Services Group, a Hispanic owned housing construction company located on Wellsford Place in Santa Fe Springs that does not have functioning website, gave $5,000.

During that period, over $7,000 was given in less than $100 increments.

There are limits on how much money a person can give a single campaign yet a committee does not have to identify a person who gives under $100, it is a common method used to garner questionable donations.

Just after the Jul. 1 to Oct. 20 second period closed, Citizens took in thousands in donations, according to online documents.

From Oct. 23 through this past Friday Nov. 2, Citizens spent over $22,000 against the candidates, including the committee’s first hit pieces on Artesia incumbents Manalo and Taj, and Hawaiian Gardens candidates Alvarado and Roa.

Questions surround why Citizens hit Alvarado and Roa, but some observers point to the controversial homeless shelter issue in the City.

Just months ago, three council members voted to build a homeless shelter in the City – Barry Bruce (who is leaving council), Hank Trimble (not running), and Marianna Rios. Alvardo and Roa are against the shelter.

And the company that gave $5,000 to Citizens, Associated Construction Services Group, builds homeless type housing shelters.

Artesia was more clear – it was the content and design of Citizen’s hit pieces in Artesia that led HMG-LCCN to find the questionable ties between the committee and Rene Trevino.

Trevino has sent out two self-promoting mailers paid for by his own committee, Trevino for Artesia Council 2018.

Citizens has recently mailed two hit pieces to Artesia residents slamming incumbents Taj and Manalo.

The content, design, and fonts used in the mailers was very similar, but it was the mailing stamp that, as one local candidate put it, is the “smoking gun showing coordination between Trevino and Citizens.”

When USPS bulk mail is used, and all political mailers use bulk mail, the person or entity must register and obtain a unique permit number. That unique number is used and placed inside the “indicia stamp” on all mail pieces.

The bulk permit that was printed on Citizens’ mailers was San Bernardino based permit number 3342.

The bulk permit that was printed on Trevino’s mailers was the same San Bernardino based permit number 3342.

According to postal officials, Citizens could not have the same number as Trevino’s committee.

 

Three different mailers, same permit number: (top) mailed out by Citizens for a Bright Future with the permit number 3342, (bottom) Rene Trevino’s mailers with the same permit number.

 

The office address for Citizens – 1304 Santa Anita Ave., South El Monte – is also very suspicious and brings in another person that might get caught in the FPPC net.

Research found that a powder coating company and a person name Joe Daugherty occupy the building. HMG-LCCN called Mr. Daugherty who confirmed he was a tax preparer with his main offices in Sun Valley and that he was leaving the South El Monte office this coming Wednesday, just one day after the elections.

The San Bernardino USPS bulk mail facility is close to Sun Valley.

 

[email protected]
Twitter: @cerritosnews.net

 

 

 

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