By SHARON STELLO and KATHE WATERBURY
Campaign fliers for Jim Peterson, candidate for Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors District 3, were distributed in a food banks bags in Tuolumne last week.
The fliers were in food sacks given to low-income seniors through the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agencys brown bag program at Tuolumne Veterans Memorial Hall.
Peterson said a campaign volunteer told him she planned to distribute his leaflets at a food program in Tuolumne and assured him this was allowed.
Peterson added that the volunteer sent fliers to the food program, but said she didnt go there herself, so he isnt sure how the material got into the bags.
He has apologized to the food bank for the incident and offered to do whatever he can to straighten out the situation.
After learning of the campaign fliers, A-TCAA placed an ad in The Union Democrat explaining that the agency doesnt endorse candidates and apologizing to those who received the literature.
However, the ad didnt say which District 3 candidates fliers were in the bags.
District 3 supervisorial candidate Jerry Morrow said several constituents have asked if those were his fliers.
Ive had a lot of people call and ask me if I did it and I said no. It wasnt me, Morrow said.
Lee Kimball, A-TCAA Food Bank director, said one of Petersons overly enthusiastic supporters inserted the fliers in the food bags without permission.
We wish no harm to any candidate, Kimball said, but reiterated that the agency cannot make any political endorsements because it receives federal funding.
She is also worried the incident might hurt the agency, which relies on community support for donations.
She said A-TCAA put the ad in the newspaper as an apology for the incident and withheld the candidates name in hopes of avoiding controversy.
But Morrow said that made all three District 3 candidates suspect.
District 3 candidate Jason Reed said he received some calls from people concerned by the incident, but they didnt ask whether he put campaign material in the bags.
I believe Jim, Reed said. It was probably a mistake made by enthusiastic campaign workers trying to get the word out.
It was a bad choice, but Im glad Jims taking responsibility for it.
A-TCAAs brown bag program is not related to the senior lunch program overseen by Sierra Foothills Senior Management, said Delbert Rotelli.
He added that some people have confused the two programs.