A fake Twitter feed using the name “DarylSupernaw4” caused a stir among Long Beach City Councilmembers and candidates late Friday evening, after the feed claimed through a tweet that Long Beach City Councilmembers Daryl Supernaw, Stacy Mungo and the mayor endorsed Eric Gray for Long Beach City Council. None of those mentioned have endorsed any candidate running for the Second District City Council seat.
The tweet was first noticed by Second District City Council candidate Eric Gray that evening, according to both Supernaw and Gray. Until Supernaw received a message from Gray, he was unaware of the handle’s existence, he said.
“It was suspicious because usually when you receive an endorsement you know it’s coming,” said Gray. “I immediately contacted Councilman Supernaw, and he confirmed that it was a prank tweet.”
Gray noted the incident occurred on April Fool’s Day, but called the prank “bizarre.”
Supernaw agreed. He called the city’s Technology and Innovation Department the next day, which, as Kerry Gerot confirmed in an email to the Post, sent a request to Twitter to have the account removed.
“Public figures often have to deal with this sort of thing and most social media sites have remedies for false accounts,” wrote Gerot.
As of Monday, the Twitter handle had been removed, though it's unclear whether Twitter or the account's owner deleting the account.
“The incident was very strange,” Gray told the Post. “I don’t know why the person imposing as Councilman Supernaw did it. It happened on April Fool’s Day, but still it would be a bizarre April Fool’s Day prank. I doubt it will have any impact on the election next week.”
“I didn’t find out until last night that it had been up since February 20,” said Supernaw, who said his first step was to contact the mayor and Stacy Mungo, since they were mentioned in the tweet, before contacting the city.
While other Second District City Council candidate Joen Garnia did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment at the time of publication, city council candidate Jeannine Pearce (also running for the Second District) did.
“It saddens me that only days after crying foul about a mailer critique in his own finances and experience, Eric Gray’s supporters would stoop to illegal activities to claim false endorsements,” said Pearce. “Regardless of whether this was Eric’s campaign or the reckless acts of a supporter, Eric should denounce these actions and make it clear that he is not endorsed by the Mayor or Councilmembers Supernaw and Mungo. I’m proud of my positive campaign that is putting the issues of the district first.”
The mailer to which Pearce refers was sent last week by a political action committee (PAC) titled Long Beach Citizens for Good Government, which has distributed mailers in support of Eighth District candidate Wesley Turnbow and Second District candidate Joen Garnica. The flyers distributed in the Eighth District generated controversy due to their racial tone, depicting a hooded figure with statistics claiming an increase in violent crime and theft on the front, and an image of Turnbow with a statement supporting him on the back.
The fliers targeting Gray claim he has been issued a Notice of Default for failure to make payments on his condo, a charge he vehemently denied in a follow-up release.
“Eric Gray has not defaulted on his condo and all of his finances are in order,” a release from Gray’s camp stated. “The only thing Garnica’s group could be referring to is a late payment of his home owners’ association dues last year.”