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Rialto political flyer deemed racist

October 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
An election flyer is triggering plenty of controversy in a Southland community six days before people go to the polls. It was mailed out in Rialto, and critics are calling it racist. The group that sent out the flyer is one reason why it's causing such a stir."But this recent smear campaign sponsored by the police union and the firefighters union has taken Rialto to the lowest of lows which I find shocking repulsive and reprehensible," said Steve Daniels, Rialto Police Dept.

This flyer was sent to the homes of registered voters in Rialto last week. It shows a picture of a young man with a gun flashing a gang sign. The message: "You can expect to see a whole lot more of us if Deborah Robertson gets elected to mayor." Attachments outlined the concerns of police and fire agencies. At a monthly city council meeting, it was a much-discussed issue.

"I'm still in shock at this flyer, that's why I'm here. And I, I would have to say that probably everyone here is in shock over this flyer," said Rialto resident Joe Ayala.

Displays throughout the city show at lot more traditional forms of political ads, the controversial flyers were developed and paid for by the police and fire agencies who stand behind the ads.

"Race has nothing to do with it. The bottom line is we don't support Deborah Robertson for the race for mayor. She has not supported our organization or the Rialto Police Department, she hasn't returned any of our phone calls. We ask to speak to reference union issues," said Ricky Van Johnson.

Mayor Grace Vargas feels that the flyers went a little over the top.

"I think it was a little overboard, you know. I think they try to help me. They said what they felt, you know, in their opinion, you know. But I would have never done that, no," said Rialto Mayor Grace Vargas.

Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Deborah Robertson was asked for her views.

"It's racism-ized, very much so," said Councilwoman Robertson. "Even though it isn't a statement, a particular statement, against my ethnicity. I think it's a very racist piece. They're a supporter of the mayor and they're coming down because they're saying that I'm not a supporter of them and that's not true. I support the police department."

The pamphlet certainly brought a lot of attention to the Rialto mayor's race. What effect it will have on the voters, everyone will know better on Tuesday.


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