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Political Landscape: Foley explains how names ended up on endorsement list

Costa Mesa Sanitary District board member Arlene Schafer, left, said this week that she has not endorsed Costa Mesa City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Katrina Foley despite her name appearing on a list of Foley’s supporters.
(Courtesy Photos)

Following the release of a mailer that included her name on a list of supporters for Costa Mesa City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Katrina Foley, Costa Mesa Sanitary District board member Arlene Schafer emphasized this week that she has not endorsed Foley’s campaign.

In a phone call to the Daily Pilot Wednesday, Schafer said her current position as president of the Costa Mesa branch of the California Federation of Republican Women precludes her from endorsing any candidate.

“All of a sudden, this flier comes out and it has 200 people endorsing, and I look at the list and here’s ‘Arlene Schafer,’” she said.

That list, which also ran as a full-page advertisement in the Oct. 21 print edition of the Pilot, contains hundreds of names listed under the header “Costa Mesa Supports Katrina Foley for Mayor.”

In the print advertisement, numerous names, including Schafer’s, are listed twice.

On Friday, Foley said the list “has been pulled together from walking door-to-door and doing many meet-and-greets in the community over the last year, and from people sending in donations and endorsement envelopes.” The duplication of names in the paper, she said, was unintentional and apparently the result of a printing or design error.

“We’ve been working very hard on gathering support for our campaign, and I think there are now more than 900 names that we have collected in support,” she said. “There were a couple that should not have been publicly included. That was a mistake, and we corrected it.”

Over the past week, a few residents have reached out to the Pilot claiming that some of those named on the list do not actually support Foley — who is facing off against current Mayor Sandy Genis in the race to become Costa Mesa’s first directly elected mayor. Similar concerns also have been raised on social media.

One particular name that’s attracted attention is Phil D’Agostino, the director of student and community services for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. He addressed the issue in a recent Facebook post.

“Setting aside the fact that I have resided in South Orange County for the past 25 years, I was shocked that Katrina and her campaign would place my name on campaign materials without asking for my permission, verbally or in writing,” he wrote. “I have asked her to remove my name from any and all campaign-related materials immediately and that she and/or her campaign correct the campaign literature that has already been published.”

Given his position in the district, D’Agostino wrote that he has “chosen not to make any endorsements or contribute my support to any candidate in any election at a local level this year.”

Foley said D’Agostino was included by mistake and that she has “sent him a letter of apology for accidentally listing his name.” She added that she’s planning to send out another mailer ahead of Election Day and that “any unintentional mistakes or typos or misspellings of names or wrong titles have all been corrected.”

“What’s great about all the attention that this list is getting is that many supporters have contacted us and asked that their names be included, as well,” she said.

De León to make stop in Newport

Current state Sen. and U.S. Senate candidate Kevin de León will make an appearance Saturday at Balboa Peninsula Park in Newport Beach.

The Newport Beach Women’s Democratic Club and Imagine Action Orange County are hosting de León, who is challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Orange County Sheriff candidate Duke Nguyen is also expected to attend.

The event starts at 11 a.m. at the park, 100 Main St. Admission is free but RSVPs are required. Visit or to RSVP.

Orange County early vote centers open this weekend

A slew of early vote centers will open throughout Orange County on Saturday, giving residents the chance to cast their votes, or drop off their completed ballots, before Election Day.

The Orange County registrar of voters office will operate centers at eight locations ahead of the Nov. 6 election, including at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, 695 W. 19th St.; and Huntington Beach Five Points Plaza at 18597 Main St.

The centers will be open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 2 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 4 and 5.

“Vote centers will provide full-service voting to Orange County voters prior to Election Day,” Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said in a prepared statement. “We’ve streamlined our check-in process, increased personnel and expanded our locations in anticipation of heavy voter volume prior to Election Day.”