RICHMOND -- The superintendent of Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park issued a retraction and apology Friday for a mass email flier linking his group with a political campaign against a local ballot measure.
"The flier listed 'No on N' as an official sponsor of the 2012 Home Front Festival, along with the National Park Service and other entities," park Superintendent Tom Leatherman said in a news release. "The National Park Service, as a federal agency, cannot and will not endorse any political campaigns and does not take sides on ballot measures."
The release further stated, "The appearance of the National Park Service 'Arrowhead' logo on the flier should in no way associate our agency with the 'No on N' campaign."
The campaign is in opposition to a ballot measure that could levy a penny-per-ounce tax on merchants who sell sugar-sweetened beverages. The Richmond Chamber of Commerce staff was responsible for the flier, Leatherman said, and under tight deadlines, his own staff failed to screen the content before it was sent out. The flier advertised the 2012 Home Front Festival, an annual celebration of the city's World War II history.
Calls to the Chamber of Commerce late Friday went unanswered. The chamber opposes the tax, calling it bad for local businesses.
In an interview late Friday, Leatherman said the e-flier was blasted out, probably to thousands, by the chamber on Thursday.
Leatherman said the chamber has funding from the Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes, which is backed by the Washington D.C.-based American Beverage Association.
"The chamber has some responsibility to know about working with the city and the NPS," Leatherman said. "They should be knowledgeable to our policy."
Leatherman said he didn't think flouting the policy was intentional but more a "failure for proper review."
Chamber President and CEO Judy Morgan could not be reached Friday, but Leatherman said she apologized to him when he brought the problem to her attention.
"As far as I am concerned, it was a mistake and it's over," Leatherman said. "We'll send out a new flier in a couple of days."