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Yes on 2 Campaign Calls on Attorney General and Secretary of State to Address Misinformation in Opponent's Advertisements
Dear Attorney General Coakley and Secretary Galvin,
On Monday 9/29/14, the Yes on 2 Campaign sent the enclosed letter to five Boston area television stations, WBZ, WCVB, WHDH, NECN, and Fox 25, all of which are currently airing inaccurate and misleading political advertisements sponsored by the No on 2 campaign. These are not everyday stretches of the truth; serious concerns about gross errors of fact are iterated in the letter to those stations. We hope there are actions that one or both of your offices can take, pursuant to Mass General Laws Chapter 56, section 42, which includes the following: “No person shall publish or cause to be published in any letter, circular, advertisement, poster or in any other writing any false statement in relation to any question submitted to the voters, which statement is designed to affect the vote on said question.”
Thank you very much for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Janet Domenitz, MASSPIRG
294 Washington Street Suite 500
Boston, MA 02108
Phil Sego, MA Sierra Club
10 Milk Street, Suite 417
Boston MA 02108
On behalf of the Yes on 2 Campaign.
To Whom It May Concern: (sent to five Boston area television stations)
As proponents of a Yes vote on ballot question #2, Update the Bottle Bill, we are obviously paying close attention to the information being provided on this issue. After viewing the commercials sponsored by the “no on 2” side, we write to express our concern that some of the information they contain is misleading and downright inaccurate.
The Federal Communications Commission guidelines state that broadcast stations are “[expected] to be responsible to the community they serve and act with reasonable care to ensure that advertisements aired on their stations are not false or misleading.”
At least four parts of the No on 2 ads are false or misleading:
1. A Yes vote on question 2 will remove unclaimed deposits from the state’s general fund and place them in a new Clean Environment Fund used exclusively for increasing recycling and cleaning up our parks and open spaces. Rather than keeping the status quo with the unclaimed deposits going to the Commonwealth’s general fund, as the opponents allege, a YES on 2 vote will, in fact, actually eliminate that concern and establish a dedicated fund to help keep our parks clean.
2. Both the current and the proposed deposit system specifically exclude any dairy beverages—no milk containers are covered. Yet, one of the No on 2 ads depicts a profile of a container that is clearly shaped like the typical gallon jug of milk familiar to families who shop in grocery stores. That container is not now and will not be covered by the 5-cent deposit
3. Both ads state that easy, walk-outside-your-door curbside recycling is widely available to “90%” of the state. In fact, according to a detailed analysis by state agencies, only 47.5% of the state’s cities and towns have that kind of access to curbside recycling.
4. In order to make Massachusetts a “leader in recycling,” that would imply increasing recycling rates. If voters vote Yes on Question 2, more than 1.25 billion bottles each year will be diverted from landfills and will be recycled.
We believe these four examples constitute a blatant attempt to mislead voters and we urge you to consider pulling the commercials. We’d be happy to discuss this urgent matter further with you.
Thank you for your consideration.
Janet Domenitz Phil Sego
MASSPIRG Massachusetts Sierra Club
On behalf of the Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill
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