George M. Cohan, the father of American musical comedy, once said, "I don't care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right." Well, in this case we might need to add the phrase "but don't attribute to us something we didn't say."


Last week, as a flurry of political mailers struck Hesperia, one slick piece particularly grabbed our attention. The hit piece that assailed school board candidate Eric Swanson featured "Hesperia Star" emblazoned above an apparent article about Swanson and the California Charter Academy.


While the first two paragraphs, in deed, were from a Hesperia Star newspaper article, a search revealed that the last paragraph originated elsewhere. Further searching uncovered the answer: The last paragraph was lifted from paveroadsfirst.com, the web site maintained by City Council candidate Paul Bosacki.


Bosacki's web site is one of the more interesting information sources on Hesperia politics. The current Hesperia planning commissioner typically makes comments on the information he gathers in italics, which he did in this case. "Read the entire report and you will find..." was the phrase that stuck out for us. As newspaper reporters, we are trained to not give opinion or implore people to action in a news story. (An opinion piece is another matter altogether, however.)


Immediately, Star reporter Beau Yarbrough began tracking down the source of the mailer. Although our investigation is ongoing, Beau discovered that the return address on the flier is the address of the Sacramento law firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP.


A political committee called Citizens for California Reform was formed on Oct. 8. The committee's treasurer is the law firm's senior partner, Charles H. "Chuck" Bell Jr., whose experience includes being the "general counsel for the California Republican Party," according to his bio.


So did the Sacramento-based Citizens for California Reform act independently, or were they hired by a Hesperia candidate or an area political group? According to a spokeswoman for California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Bell serves as the treasurer for more than 50 different political committees. So the committee was probably just hired for services rendered much like you'd hire a tailor to hem your clothes or a gardener to mow your lawn.


But which local candidate or group would have the resources to connect with such a high-level, Sacramento-based political entity? We don't know - yet.


Some news people feel strongly that portions of their articles should not be used without prior consent. However, we believe the "Fair Use Doctrine" gives people the freedom to quote publications fairly liberally. That is, unless a quotation is falsely attributed to us. Then we are concerned.


We'll continue to look into the matter.


Meanwhile the once tepid Hesperia political scene will likely get hotter and hotter until Tuesday, Nov. 4. On Nov. 5 peace and tranquility will break out in the Star of the West.


Dream on. This is Hesperia, the gateway to a whole new frontier and politics in full gear.