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Candidates at odds over robo-calls

Solomon says Messina’s phone calls are unfair campaigning

Posted: October 16, 2009 10:43 p.m.
Updated: October 17, 2009 5:30 a.m.
 
Two candidates for seats on the William S. Hart Union High School District board are trading accusations of unfair campaigning.

On Thursday, candidate Suzan Solomon was told by one of her supporters that auto-calls were going out that wrongly told voters she had not received the endorsements from State Senator Tony Strickland and Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon.

Opposing candidate Joe Messina said the phone call had mistakenly been released prematurely through no fault of his own.

"We stopped the call as soon as we heard it had been released," Messina said. "I like Sue, I think she's a great lady. The people who released the robo-call made a bad mistake on their part."

Both Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, and McKeon's offices confirmed Friday that she had their endorsements for school board.

McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, had endorsed Solomon on Thursday.

The automated call was Messina's response to a mailer sent out by Solomon this week that listed Strickland's endorsement and showed her sitting next to McKeon.

But the mailer, which was sent out before she received McKeon's endorsement, did not explicitly say the congressman had given her his nod.

The call also said the flier misled readers into thinking Solomon had been endorsed by the Republican Party.

Bob Haueter, chairman of the local Republican Party, said the flier did not seem misleading and that the party had nothing to do with the auto calls.

Messina later explained in an e-mail sent out to 14,000 voters Friday that the calls were not intended to be released until after he had verified the accuracy of the phone message.

Solomon said the calls have degraded her personally as a sitting board member of the Newhall School District. She said the calls were Messina's "desperate attempt to win a school board seat."

In the e-mail, Messina apologized that the call had incorrectly claimed Solomon was not endorsed by Senator Strickland.

jrandles@the-signal.com

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