LANCASTER – Lancaster city council candidate Johnathon Ervin expressed outrage Monday over a last-minute political mailer sent out to Lancaster’s “values-based” voters.
“It’s trying to question whether I have family values and whether I have morals, and I think that’s unfair,” Ervin said. “I think that it’s the same type of dirty politics we’re used to in this election, coming from the same source.”
The mailer states it’s paid for by Kitty Szeto, Lancaster’s deputy mayor who also works at the R. Rex Parris Law Firm. The mailer also uses the law firm’s address.
Labeled the “Faith and Family Voter Guide,” the mailer urges voters to cast a “ballot in faith.” It features incumbents Ron Smith and Marvin Crist and their positions on issues such as prayer at council meetings; prochoice or prolife; and the transgender “Bathroom Bill”.
Ervin is sandwiched between the two incumbents and portrayed as having “refused to respond” to a survey on the faith-based issues.
But Ervin said he’s being singled out, when the majority of council candidates did not respond to the questionable survey. In fact, only Crist, Smith and Michael Rives responded. View the survey results here.
Ervin said the survey was ignored because it was sent via email, without a subject line, and it contained a hyperlink, which could have contained a virus. (View the email here and the actual survey here.)
“Normally, you don’t click soft links… if they want to send a survey, they’ll send it in PDF format, I’ll print it out and fill it out like most questionnaires,” Ervin said. “I didn’t do the survey, and now it looks to me that I’m punished for it, and that’s the type of retribution that’s not Christian-like.”
Pastors Cecil Swetland and Chris Johnson are listed as the senders of the email survey.
“I would implore those two men, men of God I would hope, to rebuke this type of hit piece, because I think voters want to know that they’re not involved in this type of dirty politics,” Ervin said.
Swetland and Johnson could not be reached for comment Monday to confirm whether or not they were aware their names were used on the email survey. Attempts at contacting Szeto were also unsuccessful.
The Lancaster city election made national news last month, when Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris financed a mailer calling Ervin a “gang candidate” who had led an “anti-law enforcement protest.” About a week later, an unclaimed democratic-themed mailer endorsed Oscar Mejia and Jordan Campbell for Lancaster city council, while slamming Ervin. Mejia,Campbell and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party denounced that mailer.
Ervin said the new last-minute attack mailer is just another attempt to distract voters from the issues at hand.
“I think the voters want to talk about the issues, and tomorrow (April 8), they’re going to have a choice to make,” Ervin said. “Are you going to vote for people that are constantly trying to distract you from what the real issues are? Or are you going to vote for somebody that’s ready to talk about the issues, ready to get along with Palmdale, ready to bring jobs to the area and to expand services and help our seniors?”
The Lancaster Municipal Election takes place Tuesday, April 8, with polling locations opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. For more information regarding the City’s upcoming election, contact the Lancaster City Clerk Department at 661-723-6020.
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