Citizens for North County
For Immediate Release September 20, 2015
For further information: Diane Nygaard
Citizens for North County
Carlsbad, CA -- Backers of the Let us Vote referendum, which needs signatures from 10% of Carlsbad's registered voters to put a proposed mall on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon on a citywide ballot, called on LA developer Caruso Affiliated to reveal how much it has spent to repress the referendum -- a basic voting right.
While Caruso Affiliated has flooded broadcast, social and print media with a multi-million campaign to smother the grass-roots voter movement, the referendum sponsor said Sunday it has raised $9,000 in donations -- ranging in size from $5 to $1,000. Expenses to print the 420-page referendum -- there are more than 250 in circulation -- are exceeding $15,500.
"The outpouring of financial support and volunteer hours says so much about the willingness of residents to defend our community from outside special interests," said De'Ann Weimer, president of Citizens for North County.
"The breadth of community support is amazing. We have former city officials collecting signatures. We have the surfers on the beach. We have long-time downtown Carlsbad business owners. And in our newer neighborhoods like Aviara and those East of El Camino Real, residents are just as passionate about protecting this lagoon. This unity and common purpose is inspiring."
Meanwhile, Caruso Affiliated, which reported last month it had spent $2.5 million on its original initiative, has flooded the community via media and its army of paid signature gatherers with allegations that CNC has failed to file its financial reports on time, and spurious claims of outside financial support.
"You would think with the colossal resources Caruso Affiliated possesses, they would know when financial reports are to be filed," said Weimer. "In this case that date is Oct. 31st. To mislead Carlsbad residents -- including their own supporters -- in this way is another example of introducing a false narrative designed to distract from the real story: an outside developer is running roughshod over Carlsbad voters to add a few more dollars to its coffers. Even the democratic process is acceptable collateral."
CNC calls on Caruso Affiliated to reveal its spending for the first three weeks of September so residents will better understand the level of resources thrown at this grass-roots citizen's referendum.
But these are not the only questionable tactics being used to misinform voters. Caruso Affiliated has redeployed its paid signature gatherers with prewritten forms for withdrawing names from the referendum. As in July with the Caruso Initiative, this paid army is telling people they are signing for one thing when the reality is another.
"The legality of the forms they have mailed multiple times to Carlsbad homes are dubious at best," said Weimer. "Tricked residents are filing voter fraud complaints with the Secretary of State and other agencies."
Among the complaints, Caruso Affiliated contractors are claiming they are collecting signatures for the referendum. They are even trying to convince CNC volunteers they are on the referendum's side. At other times, they foster allegations CNC volunteers are being paid.
CNC encourages voters who believe they were the object of an attempt to defraud them of their signature to contact the Secretary of State and file the form available on the following site: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/additional-elections-information/voter-complaint.