A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jono Truth Squad #2: Rude Awakenings -- Campaign Ad Error

Sometime in February I concluded it would be a smart move to advertise my candidacy in the Green Pages -- a great way to reach citizens interested in more sustainable approaches and a venue my opposition would be unlikely to take advantage of.

So I designed an ad (including the requisite political disclaimer language) and found that, in addition to my half page ad, I would get four 'listings' of 25 words each that would be placed elsewhere in the Green Pages. Since the political disclaimer language itself is fifteen words long and would need to appear in each listing if it were political, that wouldn't leave me much of a message (just ten words) in the listings, so I decided to make the listings non-political public service type messages with no reference to political party, office sought, etc.

Months passed. I lost track of the status of the Green Pages directory and kept meaning to check up on its progress. I was a little disgruntled because I thought it was supposed to be out by now and yet I hadn't even seen page proofs -- a fairly standard printing practice or courtesy in my experience. 

But as I eased out of Whole Foods  just before the 4th of July holiday I saw a rack-full of Green Pages and grabbed a copy. Apparently it has been out for awhile.

To my surprise 1) my ad had been reproduced without the disclaimer language and 2) the listings (I could only find three) had morphed into mini political ads without my knowledge or consent. Ack and double Ack!

That afternoon I contacted the publishers and the Supervisor of Elections office. According to the publisher the ad disclaimer language didn't show because of the way the pdf file was created -- something like it was clearly there for all human eyeballs to see in what I sent, but the printer technology couldn't recognize it --an arcane software error that  (for instance) would not have happened in glossy magazine format but did in newsprint format. Go figure.

And, according to the publishers, the listing glitch was added by a third party -- in other words, my listing submission instructions were clear enough and apolitical, but the listings were actually formatted by an intermediary who changed what I requested and the publisher ran with what they were provided. :::sigh:::

The Natural Awakenings Publishers have assured me they would communicate with the Supervisor of Elections to clarify that I had submitted my material in good faith, which had it ran as I submitted, would not have been problematic. 

I'm still awaiting word confirming that communication took place. 


On July 7th, the publisher sent the following text to the Supervisor of Elections:

It has come to our attention that advertisements for Jono Miller in our Green Pages were submitted incorrectly from a third party. Mr. Jono's ads were submitted in an improper format by this third party which caused the necessary disclaimer to be dropped in the printing process of the ad. Given issues with time constraints we were unable to supply Mr. Miller with a proper proof before printing. We reviewed the original submission by Jono Miller and the original ad had the required disclaimer.

It was also brought to our attention that his listing was added to by the third party un-benounced to Mr. Miller and with-out his or our approval.

The added text "Democrat for Sarasota County Commission" was not submitted by Jono Miller.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if there are any questions regarding this matter.

We Deeply apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and I can assure you measures have been taken to ensure future issues like this will not arise in the future.