Political Flyer Stirs Controversy

Published 05/05 2014 11:45PM

Updated 05/05 2014 11:46PM

Monday, a controversial cloud came over the city council race for Fresno's District 7 seat.  Incumbent Clint Olivier called out his opponent Mike Wells for mailing out thousands of offensive flyers to residents.

"When I first saw them I was sickened, I was disgusted, I find them to be reprehensible and I reject them," said Clint Olivier, Councilman of District 7.
The mailer appears to depict an old barrack with barbed wire used during the Holocaust.  More specifically, the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz - Birkenau.

Rabbi Rick Winer shared his disappointment.

"This is the kind of thing that is hurting our community, it's hurting our nation and needs to be avoided," said Rabbi Rick Winer of Temple Beth Israel.

"Of course we're very sorry about that.  I hope nobody believes it was intentional," said Mike Wells, candidate for Fresno City Council District 7.
Wells calls the photo a regrettable error.

"We were looking for an image that depicted urban blight," said Wells.
The Democratic candidate says his graphic designer ran the picture past him and he did approve it.

"I didn't know what it was but it looked like it could have been a building in our neighborhoods here in district seven," said Wells.
Wells says effective immediately, he's putting a stop to mailing out the flyers with the building on it.
Political Analyst Don Larson calls this a hard lesson for the newcomer to politics.

"I'm sure Mr. Wells will be very careful to check out every single picture and every single word to make sure it does not say anything he doesn't want said," said Political Analyst Don Larson.
As for how this will impact wells' election that's to be determined.

"It may or may not have much of an affect, but the fact is it's there, people are going to talk about it.  It's going to be publicity and it's going to be negative publicity," said Larson.

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