City Beat

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November 1, 2011
FPPC complaint filed over Sheedy's arena poll - or was it?

There are a lot more questions than answers in the ongoing political tiff over the poll commissioned by Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy's that showed city residents want to vote on any proposal for a new sports arena that involves public assets.

It has been reported that Sheedy is the focus of a complaint made to the Fair Political Practices Commission last week. Copies of the alleged complaint were circulated to the media over the weekend, but there's a problem: the FPPC hasn't received the complaint, according to Gary Winuk, chief of the commission's enforcement division.

There's something else that doesn't make sense. The name on the document is Robert Langdon, a Rosemont resident who wasn't even surveyed by Sheedy's pollsters. And, based on an email exchange I've had with Langdon, it's not clear he knew he was filing a complaint.

Langdon wrote to me that he "signed this like a complaint/petition like I have done with many petitions over the years" and that he "agreed to some of the things the complaint/petitions stated."

"I'm not real familiar with the whole complaint process so I don't want to be in the wrong for complaining," he wrote, adding, "I believe I am not involved in this anymore, it is between Sheedy and the (FPPC)."

The complaint charges that Sheedy improperly neglected to tell those who were called that the poll was paid for by her campaign. It also charged Sheedy improperly used her official position as a council member "to foster her re-election campaign" by posting the poll results on her city website.

For her part, Sheedy said the city attorney told her there was no reason she couldn't post the poll results on her website.

And Sheedy said she also checked with an outside attorney who told her she did not need to tell those polled that the survey was paid for by her campaign because it was "not an advocacy call."

"It was just an informational poll, it was just to find out what people thought," Sheedy told me. "Unfortunately, some people didn't like the results."

One of those people apparently was R.E. Graswich, the special assistant to Mayor Kevin Johnson. Graswich took to Twitter Monday night to go after Sheedy and the poll.

"Sandy Sheedy phony poll to kill 4100 Entertainment Sports Complex jobs draws formal complaint," read one Tweet.

"Sheedy could be fined & sanctioned for posting phony anti-Kings poll on city website," read another.

As for whether the mayor's office had anything to do with the FPPC complaint, Graswich said, "absolutely not."

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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