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Court OK's Baker's Amended Ballot Description as "Long Beach Councilmember/Vice-Mayor"

Ryan's lawyers file appeal, but City Clerk may print ballots quickly

(February 14, 2002) -- An L.A. Superior Court judge has OK'd a ballot description for Vice Mayor and Mayoral candidate Dan Baker (amended by Baker after his initial filing to add a hyphen and accepted by the City Clerk) which will read: "Long Beach Councilmember/Vice-Mayor."

Lawyers for Mayoral candidate Norm Ryan, who challenged the description as violating a state election statute (below), filed an immediate appeal.

Meanwhile, has learned LB's City Clerk may act to print the ballots quickly, regardless of the appeal (apparently there is no "stay" or injunction in effect preventing this).

Following the court's ruling, Mr. Ryan told he is glad he brought his lawsuit and is pursuing an appeal because he believes today's ruling is inconsistent with a CA Appeals Court opinion in another part of the state on similar issues.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Baker told, "I am happy with the judge's decision. The ruling clearly points out that the ballot designation I chose is legally and factually correct. I hope that we can all now focus on the important issues facing our city."

At issue in the case was CA Elections Code 13107, which provides in pertinent part that "immediately under the name of each candidate, and not separated from the name by any line, may appear at the option of the candidate only one of the following designations:

(1) Words designating the elective city, county, district, state, or federal office which the candidate holds at the time of filing the nomination documents to which he or she was elected by vote of the people...

(2) The word "incumbent" if the candidate is a candidate for the same office which he or she holds at the time of filing the nomination papers, and was elected to that office by a vote of the people...

(3) No more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents. For purposes of this section, all California geographical names shall be considered to be one word. Hyphenated words that appear in any generally available standard reference dictionary, published in the United States at any time within the 10 calendar years immediately preceding the election for which the words are counted, shall be considered as one word. Each part of all other hyphenated words shall be counted as a separate word.

(4) The phrase "appointed incumbent" if the candidate holds an office other than a judicial office by virtue of appointment, and the candidate is a candidate for election to the same office, or, if the candidate is a candidate for election to the same office or to some other office, the word "appointed" and the title of the office. In either instance, the candidate may not use the unmodified word "incumbent" or any words designating the office unmodified by the word "appointed."...

Among other things, Mr. Ryan challenged the contention that being Vice Mayor was Mr. Baker's "current principal profession, vocation, or occupation."

The court ruled today that allowing Mr. Baker to be designated as "Long Beach Councilmember/Vice-Mayor" did not violate the statute.

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