Campaign Committee "Safe Vista-Safe Access-Safe Community" Pleads Guilty to Campaign Expenditure Disclosures
November 1, 2018, Vista City Attorney, Darold Pieper, in his capacity as City Prosecutor, filed a criminal complaint against a campaign committee known as “Safe Vista-Safe Access-Safe Community, Yes On Measure Z. Sponsored By Barry Walker, Prospective Licensee, FPPC # 1408838”, Barry Walker its Principal Officer, and Scott Gordon its Treasurer. The complaint charged the committee and the two individuals with five misdemeanor counts of violating Vista Municipal Code Section 2.34.140 relating to independent campaign expenditure disclosures.
On December 11, 2018, in North County Branch of the Superior Court, all three defendants agreed to plead guilty to violating one misdemeanor count each and each was sentenced as follows:
- $1,000 fine payable to the City of Vista by each defendant
- $1,000 fine payable to the court by each defendant
- Each defendant shall not, in any capacity, whether as an individual or otherwise, act alone, or in concert with any individual or entity in the publishing or displaying of campaign material in a manner that would result in a violation of in violation of VMC § 2.34.140
- Each defendant shall violate no laws (excluding minor traffic offenses)
- Each defendant was assessed a $150.00 probation revocation restitution fine, which was suspended
- Imposition of further sentencing was stayed for 3 years pending successful completion of probation
- Each defendant also made a Harvey waiver (allows the court to also consider the four dismissed charges during sentencing)
The City agreed that if a defendant has met all deadlines and has committed no municipal code violations similar to the charged offenses, the City (i) would not object to a defense motion to reduce the charge to an infraction after 12 months, and (ii) would not construe the guilty plea as disqualifying a defendant from applying for a City of Vista license to operate a legal medical marijuana dispensary pursuant to Vista Municipal Code Chapter 5.94.