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DA sues man over 'newspaper'

 
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The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against Chris Stampolis for allegedly failing to conform with the state’s Political Reform Act during the 2002 city of Santa Clara election.

Stampolis, a resident of Santa Clara, is known locally as the longtime community relations manager for Romic Environmental Technologies in East Palo Alto. The civil lawsuit filed Wednesday does not involve Romic in any way.

At issue between Stampolis and the district attorney’s office are campaign materials Stampolis distributed in the 2002 election. The materials were in the form of a newspaper, which Stampolis contends it was: Santa Clara’s Mission City News.

Julius Finkelstein, Santa Clara County supervising district attorney, contends that Stampolis was distributing campaign materials without filing the required notice that his organization was printing a “slate mailer.”

“Although the mailing was printed to look like a newspaper, it did not qualify under the Political Reform Act as a regularly scheduled newspaper of general circulation and therefore was a slate mailer,” Finkelstein said.

“Newspapers do not have to be certified by the judicial system before they have the right to cover campaigns or accept political ads,” Stampolis said.

The civic lawsuit seeks $10,000 in penalties and an injunction ordering Stampolis to make the required disclosures (for a slate mailer). A case management conference for the lawsuit has been scheduled for Feb. 21, 2006.

— Don Kazak

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