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Scotia GOP accused of using misleading photo

Scotia GOP accused of using misleading photo

Gazette image used without permission
Scotia GOP accused of using misleading photo

SCOTIA -- Scotia-Glenville Democrats are accusing Republican candidates for the mayor and village trustee positions of issuing a misleading mailing about code enforcement, as the Nov. 6 election approaches.

The mailing included a photo published in The Daily Gazette on June 17 -- a photo that was in fact of a property in Rotterdam. The picture, taken by a Daily Gazette photographer, was used without the newspaper's permission.

The Scotia-Glenville Democratic Committee called on the Republican candidates to apologize to voters for using a photo that they said was misleading.

"To use a picture -- and the source wasn't even cited and it's not even our community -- and to insinuate our team is asleep at the wheel is not appropriate," said Cathryn Bern-Smith, chairwoman of the Scotia-Glenville Democrats. "I believe they're just doing it for politics."

The election has Republican Loretta Rigney running for mayor against Democrat and village Trustee Thomas Gifford, who is the current deputy mayor. Mayor Kris Kastberg did not seek re-election and will leave office on Dec. 31.

Rigney said the Republicans didn't intend the mailer to be misleading; they used what they thought was a generic photo of a house with code issues. She said they didn't want to use a picture showing a property in Scotia because they didn't want to embarrass any residents. She said Republicans were unaware the picture was the newspaper's property.

"We were under the impression that that photo was a stock photo, and it was just a complete oversight on our part," Rigney said.

She said there are, indeed, code issues with properties in Scotia, though it will take more time to determine whether that is because building inspector Luis Aguero lacks resources, the building code needs to be updated or other measures are required.

"It is something we have heard time and again from the voters, and it was also brought up at September's Village Board meeting," Rigney said.

Daily Gazette Editor Miles Reed said the paper does not allow its photos to be used in political material.

"We don't sell or permit the use of any Gazette photos for political advertising. Period," Reed said. "We're approached every election season by some candidate or party that wants to pay to use a Gazette photo for a political mailer or ad. Our answer is always the same: No."

In addition to the mayor's race, a village trustee race has Republican Keven Mathes and Jeffrey Mazzone running against Democrats Heather Gray and Joseph Rizzo. Mathes and Rizzo are the incumbents.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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