SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party alleged Thursday that City Council candidate Ray Ellis violated campaign rules in his high-stakes race to unseat incumbent Sherri Lightner.
In a news conference, Jess Durfee said Ellis' campaign broke state and local campaign ordinances by allegedly conspiring with an independent political committee to create a video for cable television. He said he was preparing to file complaints with the District Attorney's Office, city of San Diego Ethics Commission and the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
If Ellis wins in the Nov. 6 general election, it will give Republicans a majority on the City Council for the first time in many years.
The panel is technically nonpartisan and its members cooperate on the vast majority of issues, but the visions of the mayoral candidates, Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, could be advanced or impeded depending on the makeup of the group beginning in December.
Durfee said the campaign for Ellis produced seven videos in April that were uploaded to YouTube.
Earlier this month, a political organization called San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform placed a video on cable television that included the same raw footage from the YouTube productions, according to Durfee.
"This is no small thing," Durfee said at a news conference. "It is illegal for a candidate and an independent expenditure committee to coordinate in any way -- that's why they're called independent committees."
He said he wants the District Attorney's Office to seek a restraining order to keep the committee's production from being broadcast so that the election is not tainted. The Ethics Commission and FPPC move more slowly, and will act after voting takes place.
He said the committee also failed to report the source of $50,000 that paid for the cable air time, even though the donor reported it in a separate filing.
However, according to filings with the City Clerk's office, the committee turned in a notice on Tuesday that it received a donation of $25,000 from the California Real Estate Independent Expenditure Committee of Los
Angeles and used it to buy television time.
"This is just a desperate partisan attack to distract voters from Sherri Lightner's abysmal record on the City Council," Matt Donnellan, Ellis' campaign spokesman, told City News Service.
The businessman and former San Diego City Employees Retirement System board member came out ahead of Lightner and two other candidates in the June primary election, but failed to win enough votes to avoid a runoff in District 1, in the northwestern part of the city.
Police searched for a suspected car thief who fled into a canyon in Linda Vista on Sunday afternoon.
Two San Diego police officers were shot and wounded in a standoff at a College Area condominium that left the suspect dead late Saturday night.
A motorcyclist smashed his bike into the rear of a sheriff's patrol car, as the deputy made a left turn, and was killed in Encinitas Sunday.
In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs have heralded innovations like smartphones and car-sharing. Now, Tim Draper, one of the valley's most successful venture capitalists, wants to similarly shake up the way California is governed by dividing it into three states.
Warm weather is expected to return to San Diego this week peaking around the mid-week point. Temps should cool again by next weekend.
Hundreds of statewide faith leaders will march Saturday afternoon to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where they will protest immigration policies that separated more than 2,300 children from their parents.
A 325-acre blaze burning at Camp Pendleton Saturday was described as a ``training fire'' by a base official.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped today for the 16th consecutive day, decreasing nine-tenths of a cent to $3.697.
A crash on an Oceanside freeway Saturday morning left two cars on their roofs and sent one person to a hospital, a fire official