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.