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Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Santa Clarita seal appears on City Council materials

Posted: April 4, 2014 6:22 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2014 6:22 p.m.

Santa Clarita city seal

 

Some candidates for Santa Clarita City Council may have improperly used the city seal on campaign mailers that were sent out to members of the public.

As a general rule, the city does not allow depictions of the seal to appear on campaign materials, according to city spokeswoman Gail Morgan.

“The city seal is trademarked, and what that means is that anyone that uses it needs to obtain permission,” Morgan said Friday. “And we do not give permission to candidates to use the city seal on their campaign materials.”

The reason for that, Morgan said, is because the city does not want to give the impression that it is for or against a specific candidate.

“The city seal is the official trademark of the city of Santa Clarita and, for many reasons, needs to be protected,” Morgan said. “It would show a level of partnership or support that may or may not exist, so we’re very judicious.”

One campaign mailer, provided to The Signal by a citizen, comes from incumbent City Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who is running for re-election in Tuesday’s City Council election.

The seal makes several appearances on McLean’s mailer, but not all of them may be improper, according to Morgan.

For example, if a candidate were to have a picture taken near an existing depiction of the city seal, such as a monument sign or on a building, that may not be a problem, Morgan said.

McLean’s mailer includes several such depictions.

However, the front of McLean’s mailer includes a free-stranding depiction of the seal, and that may not be allowed, Morgan said.

“Our rule of thumb is that if they use a JPEG (a picture format) of the city seal, that’s not a proper use of the seal,” Morgan said.

McLean said Friday that any potential improper use of the seal was a mistake.

“Unfortunately, the piece went out before it was correctly edited and depicted,” McLean said. “So it would be really nice if we were all perfect, but mistakes can be made and that is what was done in this case.”

Another mailer provided to The Signal is for candidate Gloria Mercado-Fortine. On that mailer, a small image of the seal appears on a fictional depiction of a Santa Clarita ballot.

Mercado-Fortine said Friday any possible misuse of the seal was unintentional.

“We try to be careful about using anything,” she said. “But if I a made a mistake, I made a mistake, and I apologize for that.”

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter @LukeMMoney

 

 

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