Bruce Broadwater, a Garden Grove school board candidate whose campaign has been buffeted by allegations that he plagiarized someone else's campaign statement, admitted Tuesday that he had done so but downplayed it's importance.
"I'm being accused of using a used campaign statement, but I don't know what the value of a used campaign statement is," Broadwater said.
Broadwater, who is part of a plank of political neophytes seeking to upset three incumbents on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board, copied the candidate statement of Bonnie Castrey, who won election to the Huntington Beach Union High School District in 1985.
Plagiarizing campaign statements is not illegal, said Rosalyn Lever, chief deputy Orange County Registrar of Voters.
"Even if it was (copied) word for word, there is no elections' code violation," Lever said.
Five challengers have entered the race to unseat three incumbents in the Nov. 3 election.
Broadwater, 48, said he had borrowed Castrey's words: "The statement fit Garden Grove so well because the school board members don't communicate with the public at all."
Despite the controversy, Broadwater said he would continue his campaign. He said that Tuesday he received more than 100 calls of support. He would not say how many calls he had received from people critical of his action.
"Let's just say that the majority of people told me to keep (the campaign) going," Broadwater said.
Castrey, who does not know Broadwater and was not contacted before her words were borrowed, said Broadwater's error in judgment was inexcusable.
"Frankly I'm very offended. I can't imagine that the voters of Garden Grove should be thinking about electing a person with such a lack of integrity," she said.
Although the "I's" were changed to "We's" in the statement, by and large it was an exact duplicate of her 1985 statement, said Castrey, who is now the Huntington Beach school board president.
She said Broadwater has not contacted her, either to explain or apologize.
"If we're not role models for our students, how can you expect honesty and integrity on your exams when you have a board member candidate who cheats?" she said.
Castrey's statement began: "I chose to run for trustee because . . . it's time for effective communication in resolving differences, rather than intentionally escalating problems by failure to listen."
Castrey said she was glad that Broadwater decided to amend the final paragraph.
"Rather than stating that he lived with my husband in Huntington Beach, he had the courtesy of saying he lived in Garden Grove with his family," she said.
Lynn Hamtil, vice president of the Garden Grove school board, said Broadwater's action "was incredible."
"It's so unnecessary. The registrar allows each candidate to write 200 words so you can write about yourself. It's a chance to tell the voters what you think your best qualifications are. What he did was tell us again what a good candidate Bonnie Castrey is," Hamtil said.
Broadwater, an insurance agent, is part of a three-person slate that also includes Jimmy E. Moore, a plumber, and Gerald L. Tolman, a high school math teacher.
In addition to Hamtil, the incumbents are Kenneth Slimmer, an attorney seeking his fourth term, and board President Joyce Johnson.
The other challengers are Watson L. Warren and Roger D. Hughes.
Times staff writer Doug Brown contributed to this article.