The Fremont City Attorney’s office is demanding that Fremont City Councilmember David Bonaccorsi’s campaign stop using the city’s logo on campaign materials. A letter sent by the campaign to Fremont voters last week prominently features the logo on a letter signed by former Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison and Linda Wasserman, the spouse of the late Mayor Bob Wasserman.
The one-page letter urges them to vote for Bonaccorsi, who was appointed to the District 3 seat in January 2017, and also includes a criticism against one of his opponents, attorney Jennifer Kassan.
The use of city-related insignia, such as city, police and fire department logos is widely known to be prohibited for use by political campaigns since they falsely indicate an official endorsement by city officials.
It’s common, however, for some candidates to create a logo for use in campaigns that slightly evokes the original. Bonaccorsi’s own campaign branding is inspired by the same Fremont logo.
Kassan filed a complaint with the city and the response was swift, ordering Bonaccorsi Monday to cease use of city’s blue and green logo rendered with three hills in the background.
“Pursuant to the City of Fremont’s trademark right to the logo, the City of Fremont hereby demands that you immediately remove the City’s logo from all marketing materials, publications, documents, websites or similar mediums and immediately take any steps necessary to remove the City’s logo from existing materials, publications, documents, websites or similar mediums,” the city attorney’s office wrote.
Bonaccorsi complied with the request almost immediately, according to a statement on his campaign’s Facebook page.
In a statement later via email, Bonaccorsi added, “The city logo without an identifying ‘TM’ is within the public domain. The mailing clearly identified my campaign as the source of the mailer.
“My campaign has been focused on solving Fremont’s housing and traffic challenges. Had I wanted to get embroiled in a back and forth, I would have sent a mailing out attacking Jenny’s husband, Vinnie Bacon, on his gross violation of campaign finance law.” The reference being Bacon’s campaign finance violation during his 2016 re-election for the Fremont City Council and subsequent $2,300 fine.
Bonaccorsi compliance with the city’s demand, however, failed to satisfy Kassan, who earlier in the race filed her own campaign finance complain against Bonaccorsi with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
“How many thousands of people was it mailed to? How can you remove the logo from the ones that were mailed out?” Kassan wrote on Bonaccorsi’s posting.
Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon, the spouse of Kassan,added to discussion, questioning why Bonaccorsi was unaware of the standard prohibition against using city logo in campaigns.
“As an attorney are you honestly saying you didn’t know that using the City’s logo in campaign material was an unauthorized use of the logo? Or did you just decide to do it anyway knowing it was unauthorized?” said Bacon.
If Kassan is elected to the City Council, the couple will serve together through 2020, when Bacon is termed out of office.
I read the 4,000 unit Warm Springs apartment complex is one of many Bonaccorsi voted for. Hundreds of People stuck in traffic grid lock may want to question him. Don’t be taken in by the sweet sounding flyers and mailers. Vote Joseph Valenti for City Council District 3. Second name on ballot. Thank you,
Anyone living in any city should be able to use the city logo. City logos were not invented for only city staff.
This isn’t a correction. It’s spin (and a very impressive bit of spin. Good work.) People can read what the letter says. It was paid for by Bonaccorsi’s campaign.
Two corrections to the article: If you read the letter carefully, it never “urges them to vote for Bonaccorsi.” In fact, the letter makes a point of urging voters to do their homework, read materials, talk to friends, review forums, etc. — and then vote based on research and observation.
It doesn’t specifically criticize Jenny Kassan, it just points out that the authors of the letter (Gus and Linda) find it unacceptable for spouses to serve together on City Council. It seems reasonable that they would have that opinion, no matter which pair of spouses tried to serve together.
I am not trying to excuse the inadvertent use of the logo (which apparently has been addressed at the level the city requested), just correcting mis-statements in the article.