Manteca Trailer & Motorhome — owned by David Tenney who is waging a high profile campaign against the City of Manteca’s one cent sales tax increase proposal and distributing anti-Measure Z signs at his RV dealership — is one of four places where the San Joaquin County Elections Department has placed drop-off ballot boxes in Manteca.
The other three places are Manteca City Nall, Central Valley Nutrition, and Cabral Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
Tenney’s Facebook site contains a photo that supporters of Measure Z have been circulating on social media. The photo with two women holding up a No on Z sign, posted Oct. 2, urges people to “pick your sign up at the store”. The “store” is the same showroom where No on Measure Z signs have been available for pick up. It is also where the ballot drop-off box has been placed.
Measure Z supporters argue the ballot box at the dealership is in violation of state election law regarding electioneering at “voting places” and campaign disclosure laws that require a committee must be filed with the local filing officer — in this case the Manteca city clerk — under the Fair Political Practices Commission rules whenever an accumulation of $2,000 or more is received in monetary or in kind donations within a calendar year for the purpose of influencing an election.
An inquiry to the Secretary of State’s office resulted in being directed to their website regarding ballot measure committees.
It is not clear whether an individual spending money or in kind expenses such as design and hosting a website is the same as an individual who is running for office who must report such expenditures through a formal committee if they exceed $2,000.
As for the polling place law, electioneering in California is prohibited from within 100 feet of a polling place in which voters are signing the roster and casting ballots. Violation of the rule is a misdemeanor.
“Electioneering” means the visible display or audible dissemination that advocates for or against a candidate or measure on the ballot within 100 feet of any building in which a polling place is located.
While there was a No on Measure Z sign at the front entrance of the parking lot to the Manteca Trailer showroom where the ballot drop off box is on Monday that appears to be within 100 feet of the front door, it is not clear whether the act of dropping off a completed ballot is the same as casting a ballot.
The election law has become somewhat murky in the aftermath of Gov. Gavin Newsom ordering every registered voter to receive a mail-in ballot this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporters, regardless, believe an advocate against a measure should not have an official San Joaquin County ballot drop-off box on their premises.
In a public records request to the City of Manteca asking for any and all records regarding the anti-Measure Z effort, there was no record of a committee being formed. However, the city did turn over an email that provides a trail back to people working on the No on Measure Z campaign including paid political consultant Donald Parsons of Strategic Research.
Parsons — in an email change with” new proofs for No to Measure Z” in the subject line states “I think it’s worth taking a shot at the Citizen's Advisory committee. They have no real authority and are appointed by the City Council . . . to wit:
“The committee is not charged with decision-making on spending priorities, schedules, project details, funding source decisions (e.g., leveraged funds, developer fees, etc.), financing plans, or tax rate assumptions. The committee shall serve in an advisory-only role to the city council. The committee shall have no jurisdiction other than that delegated to it by the people pursuant to this chapter.
“The City proposes to expand the existing oversight Committee - how many times has the existing Oversight committee questioned the priorities of the City Council, their appointing body?
“It's just a rubber stamp.”
The citizens’ advisory committee is in reference to ballot language that states if Measure Z passes that there will be a citizens’ oversight of funds the new tax would generate — estimated at $12 million a year by the city — are spent.
Toni Raymus of Raymus Homes is included in the email chain.
If you Google mantecatrailer.com/No-on-measure-Z, two references to Manteca Trailer come up. The first directs you to the No on Measure Z site. It makes a case for voting against Measure Z and carries a photo of Tenney in front of his dealership as well as outlining his case against the measure.
It also lists statements from current, former and those that wish to be elected city officials that make arguments against the measure. Those statements are from current council members Gary Singh and David Brietenbucher, council hopefuls Charlie Halford and Fred Cunha, former Mayor Steve DeBrum, and former Councilman Richard Silverman. There is also criticism of the measure from retired City of Manteca Finance Director Suzanne Mallory.
At the bottom of the website page it states the page is “paid for by David W, Tenney.”
The second listing has “old” after it and takes you to a Manteca Trailer site that runs a changing banner about Manteca Trailer & Motorhome while urging a no vote on Measure Z.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org