Monday, February 24, 2014

The Mercado-Fortine Offensive

I wonder how much this cost Gloria? If you receive the paper version of The Signal, you were probably thinking the same thing as you flipped through a dozen pages of City Council campaign ads. These were presented in a special, stand-alone section of the paper called "SCV Community Pride: Public Service." Most of the City Council candidates had ads in either the 8-page "A-section" or the 4-page "B-section."

Here's a summary, page-by-page.

  • A1: Full-page color photo of Gloria Mercado-Fortine in pink blazer, black skirt, sensible shoes. She's leaning against a tree in front of City Hall, her head cocked to the right, smiling broadly. Curiously, her name appears only in the tiniest of letters at the bottom of the page; perhaps she's banking on her quasi-incumbency--on school board, a familiar face/name to most voters in the community, lifelong resident, etc. (I feel like Tim Myers might have been the first to say Gloria is a quasi-incumbent--if so, pardon my borrowing, Myers.)
  • A2: 3/4 of the page is a self-written article from Mercado-Fortine. It's printed alongside two more photos of her in the dark pink blazer. She's sitting at a desk with a map of Santa Clarita behind her, pretending to be on the phone and to flip through important papers. It looks like what you'd buy from a stock photography outlet under the keywords "female executive, middle-aged, smile, work." The bottom quarter of the paper is an ad for Stephen Daniels that advertises his website and says "Common sense government for the people." In his photo, he is wearing a yellowish dress shirt without a suit, stands unattractively hunched over, and is squinting into the sun.
  • A3: Ads for incumbents Weste and McLean, touting many accomplishments and showing the younger, heavily airbrushed photos from a decade (or decades) ago that the always use.
  • A4-A5: Full color ad for Gloria Mercado-Fortine all over again. She features endorsements from Antonovich, Steve Knight, Steve Sturgeon, etc. and has the curious "headline" of "City Council Support". It all contributes to the quasi-incumbent vibe.
  • A6: Half-page ad/"article" for Laurene Weste, though Duane Harte also stands in the relatively recent photo taken with the new library in the background. Says, "Honored to serve as your advocate."
  • A7: Half-page ad/"article" for Marsha McLean holding a briefcase in front of the sign for Elsmere Canyon Open Space with a pile of books next to her. The symbolism will be lost on most, but at least it's a current photo. Headline reads, "Marsha McLean: Fighting for our citizens." Then there's a quarter-page ad each for Duane Harte and Paul Wieczoreck at the bottom of the page. Duane is "A great leader for a great city!" while Wieczoreck promises "Together we WILL deliver progress!"
  • A8: Get outta here, Wilk--this is for SCV City Council.
  • B1: Full page for Moazzem Chowdhury, split among a photo (he wears a suit next to an aisle of drugs in one of the pharmacies he owns), an article that reads like a resume for a pharmacist, and a traditional add with bulleted qualifications.
  • B2: Advertising for advertisers in this special advertising section.
  • B3: Full page for Dante Acosta, split among photos (business suit, BBQ with apron, American flag, veteran handshake), a list of campaign priorities, and a list of endorsements not quite as impressive as Mercado-Fortine's.
  • B4: Full page for Alan Ferdman. Above the fold, a not-so-great photo of Ferdman dominates. There are empty and overturned water bottles, he sits in a folding chair in the middle of a room that dwarfs him, and the back of some t-shirt-wearing bald guy takes up more of the photo than does Ferdman. Anyhow, there's a mini article/ad and a traditional ad as well. Canyon Country connections are promoted.
For those keeping track, that's 3.75 pages for Mercado-Fortine, 1 page for Acosta, 1 page for Chowdhury, 1 page for Ferdman, 1 page for McLean, 1 page for Weste, 0.25 page for Daniels, 0.25 page for Harte, 0.25 page for Wieczorek.

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