February 1, 2006 - An attorney for the town of Oro Valley determined last week that town council candidate Kathy Pastryk violated an Arizona election law with her web site ovadvocate.com because the site qualified as a political advertisement that did not specify the source of its funding.
In a letter to Pastryk, Attorney Tom Benevidez of the Benevidez Law Group explained that since the web site criticizes Mayor Paul Loomis, a candidate for re-election, and promotes the defeat of an economic-development agreement on the March ballot, the web site should have included a "paid for by" notice since Pastryk is a registered candidate in the same election.
Despite the infraction, Oro Valley Town Attorney Melinda Garrahan said she does not believe further legal action will be necessary since Pastryk has already taken steps to comply with the law.
"In the situation where the law is complex and the infraction is unintentional, allowing them compliance is viewed as fulfilling the intention of the law," Garrahan said. "The election law wasn't intended to be used to go beat someone up."
Pastryk appears to have removed the web site from the Internet. She had previously served as chairman of Advocate for Oro Valley, a related political committee with the stated purpose of defeating upcoming ballot referendum concerning sales tax incentives for the developers of the Oro Valley Marketplace shopping center.
She had intended to formally resign from the committee in December to pursue a seat on the town council. Yet she remained the official chairman of the committee until Jan. 19 when Phil Richardson replaced her.
Pastryk said she was unaware she was still responsible for the web site and was blind sided by the complaint Vice Mayor Terry Parish filed with the town clerk over the issue.
"I have a lingering feeling I was stung more than was necessary for a tiny issue," Pastryk said. "It ended up disrupting my campaign."
Although she acknowledges the legal infraction, she suspects the initial complaint from Parish was politically motivated.
Parish said he is happy Pastryk will be given an opportunity to comply with the law and denies that his complaint was politically motivated.