It should be clear to everyone by now that Mimi Walters lied about her residency in order to be elected to the 37th District State Senate seat in 2012. She pretended that her permanent residence was a forlorn and mostly barren apartment in Irvine rather than her mansion in Laguna Niguel. (Here, I even WROTE A SONG ABOUT IT.)
She swore under oath that that apartment was her permanent residence — and told the world that it was not just her permanent residence, but that of her entire family as well. She had THAT MUCH contempt for the intelligence of voters.
California law requires that any candidate for state legislature must live in the district that they represent. This means not just where they lay their head at night; it refers to their domicile — their residence for voting purposes — which means “a place where one intends to remain and return after an absence.” When Walters (presumably) voted for herself, as well as for any other candidates in districts including her Irvine faux-residence as well as her actual Laguna Niguel domicile, she also committed felony voter fraud.
But how do we know that Walters intended to “go back” and live in her mansion when she was no longer required to pretend otherwise?
Here’s some persuasive evidence: after Mimi Walters was elected, she was no longer required by law to live in the district. So, at some point, she moved her residence back to where it had been for years — her Laguna Niguel mansion. From there, she can lawfully run for Congress anywhere in the state of California.
In fact, we know that she moved back there because when she filled out her candidacy forms this year, SHE FLAT OUT ADMITTED IT. (Better, I suppose, than committing perjury and voter fraud yet again!)
In Los Angeles, two politicians pulled stunts similar to — but if anything less extreme than — that of Mimi Walters at around the same time. One of them, Rod Wright, was duly prosecuted by the LA County District Attorney and convicted in a jury trial, leading him to be suspended from the State Senate. Republicans, of course, have had a field day with this, carefully focusing on the fact that they have to not focus at all on Mimi Walters having done the same thing.
Now, yet another LA politician has been convicted of a felony voter fraud and perjury in a jury trial — for doing pretty much exactly what Mimi Walters did. Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarconhas been considered someone with room to continue to rise in state and local politics — but no more.
Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were convicted Wednesday of some but not all voter-fraud and perjury charges brought in a case that accused them of lying about where they lived so he would be qualified to run for his council seat. … Prosecutors said Alarcon lied when he swore that he lived in a home in Panorama City in L.A.’s 7th Council District so he could run in 2007 and 2009 to represent the district, which he did until last year. They said he actually lived in a bigger home outside the district in Sun Valley. The L.A. City Charter requires that candidateslive in the districts they seek to represent. … During the trial, defense attorneys failed to convince the jury that the Alarcons were renovating the Panorama City home and planned to return to it, and so it qualified as their permanent residence. California law defines residence for voting purposes as a “domicile,” a place where one intends to remain and return after an absence.
At least Alarcon had a plausible cover story, renovations, for why he had “temporarily” moved elsewhere without changing her cover story. What’s was the cover story for Mimi Walters? Pretty much nothing except that her eligibility for office couldn’t be challenged on it in a private action in court. Only the State Senate could expel her — which, somehow, they still haven’t done — and only a prosecutor could go after her.
Essentially, in other words, her explanation was: “I’m an establishment Republican and the Orange County District Attorney is Tony Rackauckas, so you can go pound sand.” This transparent refusal to do his job if it meant going against establishment Republicans is one of the reasons that I ran against Rackauckas in the first place — managing almost 77,500 votes against him for, not counting the filing fee, about a penny apiece. (It’s not simply the corruption that bothers me, it’s the brazenness of it, and the lack of interest in it in most circles.)
So Alarcon’s conviction is one good reason to rehash this story now. A good reason — but not the funniest one.
You see, Mimi Walters has a staffer named Cecilia Iglesias, who wanted to run for State Assembly against Tom Daly — a man himself possessing some significant connections to the GOP establishment, and who has also gotten beneficent negligence from Rackauckas. But to the shock of many, not least Iglesias, she was beaten out by a woman named Sherry Walker, who is married to Adam Nick, who is running this year against Loretta Sanchez.
Nick doesn’t have to live in the district to run against Loretta; federal law supersedes state law for Congressional races and it says that one just has to live in the state. But Walker does have to live in the district — and she has lived (and arguably still remains domiciled) in Lake Forest.
So — you see where this is going, right? — Iglesias has filed a complaint against Walker. Here it is, in its glory:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
State Assembly candidate may have violated residency requirements and acted to deceive the voters
69th Assembly District candidate Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias calls for investigation into election irregularities and violations
Santa Ana – Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias, who narrowly lost in the June 3 Primary Election in the 69th Assembly District, has filed a formal complaint against neophyte Republican candidate Sherry Walker.
In a letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit, Iglesias alleges Walker violated residency requirements and conspired to deceive voters who live in Santa Ana and parts of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Orange.
“I recently received new information which shows an intentional pattern by Walker, to openly violate residency requirements and to fraudulently mislead the voters of this district”, said Iglesias. “This is a slap in the face to all Californians who want fair elections.”
The 69th is one of the most densely populated Latino Assembly Districts in California. Over 76% of its 127,097 voters have Spanish surnames. After June 3, when all 21,365 votes were counted, incumbent one-term Assemblyman Democrat Tom Daly garnered 55% of votes cast.
But Republican results were startling. Longtime Santa Ana resident and popular elected Santa Ana Unified School Board Trustee Iglesias, the endorsed GOP candidate, was nudged out of the number two spot by only 583 votes, by completely unknown Republican Walker.
Said Iglesias, “Anyone who files a nomination for candidate knowing that any part of it has been made falsely has broken California Elections law.” Continued Iglesias, “Even her name is part of campaign fakery and election myth. Walker was born two days before Sherry Nick, aka Shahrzad Rahgozar, aka Shehrzad Rahgozar filed to be a candidate in this District race.”
69th Assembly District candidate Walker and her husband Lake Forest Councilman Adam Nick have been described by noted OC Politics blogger Art Pedroza as “perhaps the most brazen carpetbaggers in Orange County election history.”
Under California’s Election code, a candidate must demonstrate physical residence of at least one year duration to be eligible to run in a district. As a bona fide elected Lake Forest Council Member, both Mr. and Mrs. Adam Nick must live not in the 69th Assembly District, but inside Lake Forest’s incorporated City limits, 15 miles away.
The home address of 9 MacArthur Ave., #809, in Santa Ana, filed on March 5, 2014 by candidate Walker, to run as Republican candidate in 69th Assembly District is in fact, not her legal residence, but belongs instead to Syavosh Zavarei a close political ally of hers and a Republican gadfly.
California’s State Constitution protects residents’ civil rights, which include democratic election of local representatives. California Election Code requires State Office candidates to demonstrate firm residency where they intend to serve and show familiarity with the district they wish to represent.
In the past six months, with practically no presence in the 69th Assembly District, Walker may not only have allegedly violated election law, but has literally trampled upon the very spirit of California’s system of locally-based representation.
Iglesias has requested immediate investigation into 69th Assembly District election improprieties. Pending trial and conviction, Secretary of State Bowen has also been asked to remove Walker as a candidate for office, and to place Iglesias, as next runner-up, on 69th State Assembly ballot for the November General Election.
Said Iglesias, “I’ve been advised by political party members not to pursue a formal complaint about these alleged criminal violations lest I be perceived as a sore loser, but my only motivation is to serve the residents of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange and Santa Ana. These voters have lower median incomes, higher high school dropout rates, greater public safety risks to their person and property than a majority of California’s 40 million residents. Faced with all these challenges, why shouldn’t they have the very best representation, from a true 69th Assembly District resident?”
It’s pretty much too late, as I understand it, for Iglesias to sue her way back onto the ballot. If she wanted to be on the November ballot, she has to win one of the top slots in the June election — and she lost her bid for second place by more than John Perez did in a statewide race for Attorney General. If Iglesias had wanted to bring this up, she had about three months before the election to do so.
Why didn’t she? Presumably, hubris: she didn’t think that Walker could beat her. (Hell, I even forgot that Walker was running — and I was standing at the next window at the Registrar of Voters when she filed on March 8, accompanied by someone whom I suspect was Syavosh Zavarei.) But that’s not what interests me here.What interests me is this:
WHAT DOES MIMI WALTERS THINK OF IGLESIAS’S COMPLAINT?
Look, I give up certain things by being a candidate and party-official-in-exile — and one of them is that I cannot call up Mimi Walters or her campaign and expect an answer about something like this. So someone else gets the scoop. (Not you, Art Pedroza; your feelings on the race are quite clear.)
Someone — or many people, dozens, maybe hundreds — has to call Mimi Walters and get her opinion on the complaint filed by Mimi Walters’s own staffer. I’m dying to know — aren’t you? Walters is running against pleasant and competent-seeming Democrat Drew Leavens this year — the guy that I’ve already said should be talking to Col. Greg Raths, another entrant in the primary, about becoming his Chief of Staff should Leavens be elected to Congress, because a Democrats + Honest Republicans + Independents is the only way (and, at a minimum, the most likely way) for him both to raise funds and to win.
So I hope that someone who favors Leavens may spearhead some drive to obtain this information — because it is Daily Show caliber ironic, and those sorts of opportunities don’t come along every day.