FPPC won’t investigate litany of complaints against San Leandro slate

Last week, a former San Leandro councilmember and one of the city’s most prominent landlords alleged up to 238 potential campaign finance violations against the Fresh, Clean Slate, a group of four San Leandro candidates focused on bringing rent control and just cause regulations to the city. A week later, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) said they will not investigate any of them.

“Based on a review of the complaint and documentation provided, The Enforcement Division found insufficient evidence of a violation of the Political Reform Act, and will not pursue an enforcement action in this matter,” Galena West, head of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, wrote in a letter, dated, Nov. 1.

The “Fresh, Clean Slate” is made up of San Leandro mayoral candidate Jeromey Shafer, City Council candidates Eva Arce (District 1), Victor Aguilar, Jr. (District 3), and Maxine Oliver-Benson (District 5).

The FPPC’s response was swift and politically fortunate for the slate, which can now move forward through the final five days of the election without the complaint hanging over each campaign.

The campaign has run a clean campaign from the start, said Guillermo Elenes, campaign manager for Shafer. “Early on we choose to accept only $99 from people not corporations. That act was taken as a direct challenge to political party consultants and the good ‘ol boys club that has run our city for way too long.”

The complaint filed Oct. 19 by former San Leandro Michael Gregory and landlord Tom Silva focused primarily of alleged reporting violations involving the slate. In addition, they claimed a mailer that was designed as a slate card featuring 34 state and local candidates, along with ballot measures, violated the election code because the group had not registered as a “slate card organization.”

A flyer handed out by the slate days later, and featured on Facebook, slammed Silva. It depicted the landlord as the puppet master controlling the San Leandro City Council.

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