by Paul Alan Levy
Last week I explained the many fallacies in a contention by Jill Sprague, General Counsel of the Alameda-Contra Costa County Transit District, that Victoria Fierce, a candidate for election to the ACT Transit Board of Directors, has unlawfully posted photographs to her campaign web site that included busses and a route sign that included AC Transit’s official logo
In response, Sprague has backed off the claim that this was an improper use of the AC Transit logo. Desperate to save face, Sprague claimed in a letter lletter late last week late last week that Fierce as making a deliberately deceptive use of the AC Transit seal, and hence committing a misdemeanor in violation of a provision in California’s Elections Code.
Well, no. Generally speaking, a seal is a round image containing pictorial elements see for example these compendiums of state seals and of city and county seals. And until Sprague sent her letter, there is no reason to believe that AC Transit ever deemed its logo to be a “seal.” Thus, I have explained to Sprague in a letter today why she is wrong – not only is the logo not a seal, but there is no deception and the elections provision applies to mass mailings.
But Sprague also claimed in her letter to me that she has been telling other candidates that they had to stop using the logo . . . or is she threatening them with prosecution for using the seal? That's something I'd like to find out. It's bad enough that she had threatened Fierce, but if she is extending her reign of error to other candidates running against her employer’s incumbent leaders, serious action may be needed. I have demanded production of all the demand letters, and will report back.
AC Transit has dropped its demand, while suggesting that it has in mind to review the ordinance to be clearer about its intent.