Councilman John B. Ashbaugh is responding with the following statement to the allegations in the complaint filed with the City Attorney’s office by challenger Kevin Rice and his associates, as follows:
1) Yes, I did inadvertently send some emails from my official Citiy email account; these emails are clearly a mistake that I have conceded the instant they were brought to my attention – which was well before the complaint filed by my challenger Mr. Rice.
2) I have 5 email addresses that I use on a regular basis; I use five different devices to access a very high volume of emails; and I send 15-25 emails each day in order to meet the demands of three different jobs, my family, and my campaign. I’m willing to believe that many people in our world have made the same, very inadvertent mistake.
3) I am fully aware that any use of the City’s email account to discuss campaign matters is not appropriate, and I support that rule. That’s why I addressed it as soon when it happened. Those of us who have multiple non-City e-addresses must be particularly vigilant, but it is altogether too easy to begin composing (or replying to) an email using an incorrect account.
To summarize, the errant use of the City’s email account was a mistake for which I have already taken responsibility – before Kevin P. Rice felt necessary to make a story about it by filing a complaint. Should the City Attorney decide to pursue the complaint submitted by my opponent, then of course, I will do what’s necessary to remedy this matter in a way that upholds the integrity of the City and of my office. I always admit when I make a mistake, and I always do what’s necessary to resolve it – I always have and I always will.
As to the remaining allegations in the complaint (items 2 and 3), these are very minor matters: Several weeks ago, I directed my campaign treasurer to refund to the donor (Supervisor Adam Hill) the value of two bottles of wine that he had brought to a campaign event, since he had already contributed a check for $200 (the maximum amount allowed under City campaign finance laws). As to the August 3 filing for my first Form 460, it was submitted only after several conversations and email exchanges with our Acting City Clerk at the time, and it was accepted late without consequence.
Finally, I fixed my mistakes before Mr. Rice decided to file what’s basically a retroactive complaint for reasons one can assume are akin to an “October surprise,” or his countless other attacks targeted on elected officials during the 2012 primary election. It’s discouraging that Kevin, whom I had once regarded as a friendly adversary, has once again decided to get down into the gutters and muddy up the waters of this election, which is so critical to the people of our community here in SLO. Quite frankly, we all need to rise above Mr. Rice’s cynical approach to local government, and his seemly negative outlook on what it means to be a public servant. SLO isn’t cynical, Mr. Rice. SLO Government isn’t about creating and proliferating “gotcha” stories; it’s about working together to find solutions to everyday, real problems.
I love where I live, and I prefer to focus on issues important to my long-time home, San Luis Obispo. I will continue to do so to the best of my ability.