Santa Clara Candidate Apparently Skirts U.S. Mail Law to Promote His City Council Campaign

With Election Day quickly approaching and early voting in full swing, Santa Clara City Council candidate Robert Mezzetti appears to have skipped over the United States Postal Service to get at least some of his campaign literature in voters’ mailboxes.

But the post office says that’s not allowed.

Mezzetti, an experienced personal injury attorney endorsed by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, is running for Santa Clara’s District 6 seat.

His competitors include Anthony Becker and Gautam ‘Gary’ Barve in an election year that has the potential to flip the city’s political landscape.

But despite his legal background, it seems Mezzetti flouted federal law with his inappropriately placed flyers that were found stuffed between the side of the mailbox and the red carrier signal flag at multiple homes in Santa Clara.

Augustine Ruiz Jr., a spokesperson for the USPS, said Mezzetti can’t use residents’ mailboxes as a literature drop location.

“They’re allowed to leave it anywhere they want,” Ruiz told Fly. “People leave them on the driveway, doorway, [but] if they do not have postage you can not put it in a mailbox.”

According to USPS’ Domestic Mail Manual, flyers without postage can’t be “placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from or inserted into a mail receptacle.”

But mailing political flyers can be costly, so shoving it into voter’s mailboxes has become one way to avoid hefty campaign costs. Mezzetti’s campaign has raised $10,880.07, according to an Oct. 22 filing.

“People have to pay for the carriers to deliver mail that has postage on it and if it doesn’t have postage, people didn’t pay for it,” Ruiz said.

Mezzetti did not respond to an email request for comment by press time.

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2 Comments

  1. “But despite his legal background…”

    It appears Mr. Mezzetti knew not to put his flyer in the mailbox, but amazingly his legal training did not alert him to prohibitions against items “placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from or inserted into a mail receptacle.”

    Clearly not a Harvard Law School grad.

  2. “People have to pay for the carriers to deliver mail that has postage on it and if it doesn’t have postage, people didn’t pay for it,” Ruiz said….” So I guess Ruiz should point out that Congress has been sending political mail to people without postage for almost 200 years. I guess it’s ok if you’re an incumbent Congressperson. Not so much if merely a plebeian.

    https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RL/RL34274/20#:~:text=The%20franking%20privilege%2C%20which%20allows,United%20States%20since%20colonial%20times.&text=Congress%20has%20also%20occasionally%20granted,executive%20branch%20officers%20and%20others.

    “The franking privilege has carried an element of controversy throughout American history.
    During the 19th century, the privilege was commonly attacked as financially wasteful and subject
    to widespread abuse through its use for other than official business. Although concerns about cost
    and abuse continued in the 20th century, strong criticism of the franking privilege developed
    regarding the use of the frank as an influence in congressional elections and the perceived
    advantage it gives incumbent Members running for reelection. Contemporary opponents of the
    franking privilege continue to express concerns about both its cost and its effect on congressional
    elections.”

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