The latest fallout in the acerbic battle for the 5th District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors stems from an election flier some are calling a hit piece.
One side of the color flier shows a black and white pig nearly up to its loins in muck, with the word "hogwash" printed in big, red block letters.
The Efren Carrillo campaign mass mailer asserts that that former Sonoma County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter, who is vying for the post he held from 1980 to 1996, is "running fast and loose with the facts" and that his "campaign rhetoric is &‘Hogwash.'"
The flier quotes an April 29 Press Democrat editorial endorsing incumbent Carrillo, in which the word "hogwash" was used to characterize one of Carpenter's campaign claims. The flier ends, "Say &‘No' to Hogwash! Say &‘No' to Ernie Carpenter!"
Carpenter's response: "His hog, his wash." Carrillo, he said, "Continues to avoid the issues ... I do appreciate the fact that he mentioned my name four times. That was good."
Carpenter said he considered the flier a hit-piece and that he would respond in an appropriate manner.
"I'm going to be circumspect," he said. "All I can tell you is that it will be above board,"
Carrillo said the flier was meant to be humorous and to point out what he said were Carpenter's deceptive campaign tactics.
"It was simply an informative piece acknowledging Ernie's misrepresentation of not only himself but also his misrepresentation of some of the issues he's describing."
At issue is the contentious debate over the Preservation Ranch development outside Annapolis, a timber-to-vineyard conversion project that Carrillo says he cannot support or oppose until it's been through environmental review and had a fair hearing before the Board of Supervisors.
Carpenter claims his Carrillo's position, along with past votes in favor of the Dutra asphalt plant in Petaluma and gravel mining along the Russian River, show he and others on the board are willing to abandon the general plan and undo a generation of conservation and land use accomplishments.
Carrillo has pushed back on the Preservation Ranch issue by pointing out that Carpenter was a paid consultant in the late 1990s for a timber-to-vineyard conversion project on property that later became Preservation Ranch. Carpenter has described that work as environmental consulting.
Carrillo said the flier, which cost a little more than $10,000 to produce, print and distribute, was the product of a "volunteer committee." He would not say who was on the committee.
He said it was sent out to "potential voters" in the 5th District.
The third candidate in the race, former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi, said the flier was the type of negative campaigning often used in the Sonoma County Supervisors race.
"It's happened before ... that's disappointing," she said.
For his part, Carpenter said he'll spend the weekend campaigning in the Russian River area, walking precincts and attending campaign events, and "maybe I'll be giving my pig a bath."
Staff Writer Martin Espinoza can be reached at 521-5213 and firstname.lastname@example.org.