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Is Tustin Council Candidate a Deceiving “Wannabe” — Yes

Hat tip to OurTownTustin blogger Jeff Gallagher for this scoop on Tustin Council candidate Allan Bernstein, a Jerry Amante-endorsee with no civic or community experience and little apparent common sense, for using a photo of himself on the Dais of the Tustin City Council with a partial image of the City’s official seal in view on his campaign literature and Facebook page.  Clearly, Bernstein is a “wannabe” as in “I wannabe a councilman!”  So let’s take a photo of the candidate on the dais to trick voters into thinking “he’s already on the council!”  Foolproof, except it isn’t.

How Bernstein was able to get access to the Dais for that kind of professional photo shoot is a question all to itself.  As Gallagher reports, “The Tustin City Code does address the use of the seal but only in the context that the City Clerk is the official “keeper of the seal” and it is to be used on all official city documents. The use of the city logo is another matter. The code states specifically the logo may not be used in campaign materials or to promote business or any other purpose unless permission has been given (it is interesting to note that Amante signed this ordinance into law and he appears to be the one advising Bernstein).”

So who gave Bernstein permission to have this photo taken and used?  Or is it another instance of Council member Amante, who remembers the attendance record of every council member he served with for eight years, but “forgot” this ordinance like he forgot the threats he made against Council member Deborah Gavello to former Fullerton council member Pam Keller in 2008?  Let’s just call Republicans that “I don’t recall” party.

Gallagher points out that Bernstein may be guilty of a state law violation and that he’s reported it to the DA’s office for review.  And while we hold our breath for a ruling (and turning blue waiting), the law in question is Section 18304 of the Election Code which states:

(a) Any person who uses or allows to be used any reproduction or facsimile of the seal of the county or the seal of a local government agency in any campaign literature or mass mailing, as defined in Section 82041.5 of the Government Code, with the intent to deceive voters, is guilty of a misdemeanor.




  1. Ltpar Ltpar August 29, 2012

    Dan, this guy may be the worlds biggest buttface, next to Barry Soetoro of course, but he hasn’t broken any law. A citizen can wander into the City Hall, or Council Chambers at any time and have someone take a photo of him/her standing/sitting there. It is no different than a politican standing next to a Police car for a photo op. It implies that the person might be a backer of law and order, but conveys no illegal intent. The key words here are”illegal intent” and that is what the D.A. would be looking for. If your buttface were passing himself off as a City Council Member, then there might be a case. Photos are just one spoke in the wheel of the smoke and mirrors of political campaigns and here we are in the middle of another “silly season.”

    • Jeff Gallagher Jeff Gallagher August 29, 2012

      I agree with you, Ltpar. The issue is not whether he has a photo of himself up on the dais under the city seal. It is what he has done with that photo that counts. And, using a photo of a person with the city seal with the intent of deceiving the public is a misdemeanor. Bernstein has been seen around town sporting a city seal button with the word, “candidate” underneath. He has a photo of himself on the dais under the city seal and has placed that on his Facebook page, where he campaigns and on campaign literature that he has sent out. Why would he use this photo if not to deceive the voting public? So, he may be a buttface, but he is also a scofflaw and the city attorney doesn’t even have balls enough to send him a letter telling him to cease and desist.

      • Ltpar Ltpar August 31, 2012

        Jeff, not into Tustin politics except for my long time friendship with Councilman Al Murray, but my take on the situation is this. If this candidate or any other for that mattter, is in violation of a Federal, State, or Local law, they need to be called on it and prosecuted if it is intentionally being committed. .

    • Ned Smith Ned Smith September 25, 2012

      Hey I think lending your City badge to your brother so that he can park his car wherever he wants is a lot worse than taking a picture in the wrong place. You guys crack me up with your half truths and innuendos. Incredibly poor politics, has nothing to do with the real issues. Just a bunch of name calling. You should be ashamed.

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | September 25, 2012

        Ned – by all means point out any inaccuracies in this story. Thanks for reading

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