Lingering Questions From Cynthia Ward’s Lost Lawsuit
Posted by OC Insider on September 5, 2012
Mostly a Loss for Ward
OK, the court rejected Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward’s lawsuit to prevent council candidate Steve Chavez Lodge from using Chavez as part of his name on the ballot. Chavez is part of his legal name, but it’s not like Ward has been primarily concerned about facts or anything in this case as opposed to playing politics.
The outcome of that part of her lawsuit should never have been in doubt. Ward said because, in her opinion, Lodge was not “widely known” as Steve Chavez Lodge, that he should be barred from using it on the ballot. Too bad she wasn’t aware of Jim Lacy’s lawsuit in 2008 against Dana Point council candidate Lou Penrose, asking the court to bar him from using the name he was widely known by – Lou Penrose – and force him to instead use his legal name, Luigi Rossetti. The judge sort of split the baby and required Penrose to list himself as “Lou Penrose (aka Luigi Rossetti Jr.).”
Ward and her legal team were basically attempting the reverse of that.
She did squeeze out a little bit of victory when the judge ruled Lodge can’t use the “retired policeman” part of his “retired policeman/businessman” ballot designation.
Who’s Footing The Bill For The Lawsuit?
In comments around the blogosphere today, Ward served notice that she absolutely will not disclose who is paying her legal costs. Up till now, in her blogging and activism, Ms. Ward’s has been upfront and candid about her motives, political relationships, etc. This cone of silence shtick is way out of character. Since she still won’t even state “Yes, I am paying for my legal fees out of my own pocket,” it’s safe by now to assume someone else of taking care of Strumwaaser-Woocher’s bill.
Also, in her lawsuit, Ward puzzlingly did not include any request to recover attorney fees if she won the case. The judge made no mention of recovering legal costs in his decision. If Ward had won, she would have to sue to recover legal fees.
Anyone as confident as Ward was of winning their case would have included a request…unless you weren’t the one paying for the lawsuit and therefore didn’t need to worry about recovering legal fees.
Either way, Ms. Ward can still clear this point up very easily.
The John Leos Connection
Here’s another interesting connection to Ward’s lawsuit against Lodge.
Lodge was served with the lawsuit the evening of Tuesday, August 21. A few hours later that same evening, the campaign of a rival council candidate John Leo (the candidate of the city employees union) sent out this press release:
Lawsuit Challenges Lodge’s Use of Chavez Name for Race in Anaheim
ANAHEIM (August 21, 2012) — Anaheim resident Cynthia Ward has challenged City Council candidate Steve Lodge’s use of the middle name “Chavez” on the ballot and also the inclusion of “retired” in his ballot designation. Her lawsuit suggests the recent use of the middle name “Chavez” serves a political function.
“While I can respect Lodge’s apparent sensitivity to voter concerns about the lack of a Latino voice on the Council, it just seems opportunistic to put on a Latino identity for himself now that votes are at stake,” said City Council Candidate John Leos. “My family over the last 90 years experienced segregated Anaheim schools and other injustices, but I learned from them always to be myself — in season and out of season.”
So how did Leos find out so quickly not just that Lodge had been served, but obviously had knew the details of the lawsuit?
In a blog comment, Ms. Ward says she didn’t release any information, and doesn’t think her lawyers would have done so without her approval:
“These suits are filed routinely in elections all over the country, most without the fanfare and negativity that this one has been subjected to. Which leads one to wonder, how did the press even find out about this? I did not do a press release. Voice of OC was tipped off about 24 hours after the suit was filed, and to confirm factual information I posted a short notice to a new, raw, non-revenue generating blog I am working on, one that is not even tied into Google yet, so the media frenzy did not come from me. My attorney would not run a press release without me. Did Lodge or his campaign team generate the press attention? One has to wonder.”
Yes, one does have to wonder. The Lodge campaign didn’t alert the world (why would they?). But if someone else was paying for the lawsuit, like a certain public employee union that represents Anaheim city employees, and used to have Leos on its Board of Directors, and is backing Leos for Anaheim City Council, is paying for the lawsuit, then that union would have the details of the lawsuit and every motivation to pass them along to the Leos campaign.
That explanation makes a lot more sense than anything Ward or anyone else has come up with. We’re not going to hold our breath waiting for the Leos campaign to disclose how they learned of the lawsuit and its details so amazingly quickly. Only the willfully blind aren’t going to see the busy hands of the OCEA and the Leos campaign in this entire affair.