As election campaigns head into the last weekend and candidates crisscross the state, activists of all stripes are busy.
The proposition that would tax Californians who earn more than $1 million per year to pay for mental-health programs has come under attack from the Church of Scientology. Democrats accused the Republican Party of launching a racist attack campaign against an Assembly candidate from the Central Valley. And campaign analysts reported that more money has been spent on ballot measure campaigns in this election than in any other in California history.
In a mass mailing that reached voters across the state, the Scientologists painted Proposition 63 as a boondoggle for the “same psycho-pharma racket whose proliferation of mind-altering, violence-inducing drugs on our schoolchildren in recent decades has fueled the explosion of school violence fatalities.”
It was the first major campaign attack on the initiative. Supporters of the measure suggested the Scientologists’ mailing was a blatant violation of campaign law. The Scientology organization did not report the production and mailing of the eight-page Freedom newsletter to campaign finance authorities.
“Clearly this publication was sent to more than just their membership,” said Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who is leading the campaign for Proposition 63 and received one of the mailers himself. “We think the public has a right to know who paid for it.”
The newsletter includes a photograph of a funeral of a victim from the Columbine school shooting along with warnings that passage of Proposition 63 could result in more school shootings. It also states that criminal behavior among psychiatrists has spiked 1700% over the last 20 years.
Tom Paquette, the newsletter’s editor, said the report was consistent with what his newsletter has been publishing for years. He said the newsletter, which has a circulation of 200,000, was no different from any other newspaper or magazine that expresses opinions about an issue in its pages.
“Our constitutional rights stand just like those of the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor or any other newspaper,” he said.
This wasn’t the only political mailing to spark heated controversy this week.
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