Navarro Asks Radio Station to Halt Critical Election Ad

TIMES STAFF WRITER

San Diego mayoral candidate Peter Navarro on Wednesday asked a radio station to withdraw a political advertisement sponsored by a Republican political group, contending that the 60-second spot is "slanderous" and "grossly misrepresents" Navarro's views.

Navarro's campaign asked KSDO-AM (1130), one of three local radio stations on which the advertisement apparently began airing Wednesday, to pull the commercial, which was prepared by the Golden Eagle Club of San Diego.

An attorney for the campaign also asked that a correction be aired during Roger Hedgecock's morning talk show, explaining that Navarro was being impersonated in the commercial.

But Kelly Wheeler, KSDO's director of operations, said the station has no plans to withdraw or correct the ad, which is scheduled to run through Monday.

"I heard it, and we don't put anything on the air that doesn't meet the FCC requirements," Wheeler said, referring to the Federal Communications Commission.

In the ad, the voice of an unidentified economics professor is heard giving a lecture. The nasal voice of the teacher is interspersed with the comments of an announcer who is critical of Navarro.

"And our model of economic theory predicts that if fewer people have jobs, the environment will benefit," the professor says. Later, he adds that "you can see that creating jobs and a healthy economy are really not my concern."

Navarro's press secretary, Jenny Dean, said that, without a disclaimer, listeners unfamiliar with Navarro's voice have no way of knowing that the lecturer is an actor impersonating the managed-growth advocate or that the views are not Navarro's.

In a statement, Dean called the ad "a desperate, last-ditch attempt to thwart Navarro's rise in the polls." A Times Poll taken last week showed Navarro in second place among the four candidates seeking the city's top post.

But Tim Haidinger, chairman of the Golden Eagle Club, said, "I'd be very surprised if anybody really thought it was Peter Navarro. It certainly wasn't our intent."

Haidinger said the commercial began airing Wednesday on KSDO, KJQY-FM (103.7), and KCBQ-FM (105.3) and would run through Monday. City records show that the club spent $6,500 on the ad. Haidinger would not disclose which consultant prepared it and would not say whether more advertising is planned.

Haidinger said the 150-member group is working against Navarro because "we believe Peter Navarro will not provide the kind of leadership we need to get us out of the dire economic straits we find ourselves in today."

In April, the Golden Eagle California Political Action Committee paid $500 to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the city attorney's office over an alleged violation of campaign finance laws in the successful effort to recall former Councilwoman Linda Bernhardt. The group admitted no wrongdoing, Haidinger said.

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