Oakdale resident and active city volunteer Ramona Howard has made it no secret that she wishes to run for one of the open city council seats this November. Howard, however, may have started her “campaign” too early in violation of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The Leader has received an electronic campaign poster titled “Ramona Howard, For City Council – Less Talk, More ACTION” and information that Howard has established a Facebook page for the purpose for her campaign.
The issue with the poster and Facebook page; Howard has not officially submitted papers that she is running for city council – a violation according to the FPPC.
A check with the Oakdale City Clerk’s office on Aug. 3, shows that Howard pulled papers to run for the council seat but has not filed the papers with the required documentation.
On Thursday, August 2 a Facebook page titled, “Howard for City Council 2012” was established. The page also shows the mentioned campaign poster with various colors. On the page Howard also has the statement “Working together to Make a Difference.”
On Howard’s personal Facebook page she posts on Thursday, “Please like and share my campaign Facebook page. I am going to try to keep all this noise on there and not here on my personal page....wish me luck with that :) As soon as I move the website over to ramonahoward.com, I will share that.”
A check of ramonahoward.com shows it not yet operational.
When contacted Teri Rindahl of the California Fair Political Practices Commission Enforcement Division said candidates must file a Form 501 for each election, prior to raising or spending any money, or campaigning for office. When asked if a Facebook page would be in violation, Rindahl said that it would apply since its specific purpose was to seek election.
“No campaigning is allowed prior to filing for office,” Rindahl added.
According to campaign laws, candidates must even file when using their personal funds when seeking office.
In a telephone interview on Friday, Howard said she was still collecting signatures and was probably going to submit her papers to the city clerk’s office on Monday.
Howard also said she wasn’t aware that she couldn’t campaign until papers had been filed.
“I just love all these rules,” Howard said. “I’ll have to make it a private access until Monday. It’ll go back live on Monday.”
Howard is the mother of Jason Howard who resigned his seat in April when he moved from the area. Jason Howard was also criticized by the Stanislaus County Grand Jury of his actions when serving on the council during his shortened term
Look for more to this story in the August 8 edition of The Leader.