Measure S Campaign Doubles Down On Their Fake Eviction Notice Mailer Despite Cease And Desist, Citing Free Speech
Last week, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department publicly shamed the Yes on Measure S campaign (formally known as "the Coalition to Preserve LA") for sending out a campaign mailer designed to look like an official eviction notice from said department. (See all our previous coverage on Measure S here, along with a nitty-gritty explainer of why it would be so bad for housing in L.A. here). Along with Facebook and Twitter postings, the Sheriff's Department also issued an official cease and desist letter, demanding that the Coalition stop sending out the faux eviction notices.
On Monday, the Coalition doubled down on their fake eviction notice mailers and cried censorship. In an official letter sent to County Counsel (they represent the Sheriff's Department), the Coalition's lawyer wrote that there was "no merit" to the county's demands, and said they were "dismayed at the apparent efforts of your office to censor the free speech rights of the proponents of Measure S and thereby influence the outcome of the election on this local ballot initiative."
The letter was shared on Twitter by reporter David Zahniser, who covers local government and City Hall for the L.A. Times, and L.A. Weekly's Hillel Aron:
Along with laying out his case for why the mailers didn't actually violate the statute that the Sheriff's Department had cited, the Coalition's lawyer also accused the county of trying to "silence the proponents of Measure S and/or portray them in a negative light" in an attempt to influence local politics:
Uh, pretty sure they were just trying to stop people from being terrified by the fake eviction notices that were literally being sent to their homes.
"We are a tenants’ rights organization and have been getting phones calls from tenants who say they became frightened and unnerved upon opening their mail boxes and thinking they had just received an eviction notice," Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival said in a statement last week. For what it's worth, the L.A. Times has also put out a detailed piece explaining how the luxury housing that Measure S would stop doesn’t actually require many evictions. [Editor's note: Measure S is really, really bad and passing it would actually lead to higher housing costs for renters.]
We reached out to County Counsel for comment but did not immediately hear back.