OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

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.

11 Responses to “Lingering Questions From Cynthia Ward’s Lost Lawsuit”

  1. junior said

    IMO Cynthia was “jobbed.”(*) She likely did not know who was behing Woocher. She saw a situation that she thought was wrong (btw – I think that it was wrong too) and accepted legal help without really knowing who was behind that help.

    “jobbed” definition per urbandictionary.com – “To be the victim of a conspiracy; to lose a seemingly fair contest because of deceit.”

    • OC Insider said

      Junior, if Cynthia got suckered (which I don’t believe), then that is on her.

      I disagree there is anything wrong with including part of your legal name on the ballot. By her logic, a candidate wouldn’t be able to use his or her middle name unless they were “widely known” by it.

  2. “Also, in her lawsuit, Ward puzzlingly did not include any request to recover attorney fees if she won the case.”

    And you link to the document I uploaded. As I explained in OJ comments, that PDF got truncated when I uploaded it as a “google document.” She DID request court fees as part of her “Prayer For Relief” at the end of her petition.

    Here, to hell with Google Docs, I’ll upload it onto the Orange Juice:
    see page 12.

    I know that Cynthia IS now worried about how she’s going to pay for this, she really was counting on winning the suit, and nearly did, in which case she would have been off the hook.

    Meanwhile I think the obsession over “who’s paying for this” is part of Lodge and his supporters’ (including you) effort to paint him as a threat and foe to unions, which I find utterly laughable, although I’m sure he’ll try to use it tonight when trying to get the OC GOP endorsement. As I wrote yesterday:

    1. This is a 54-year-old retired cop living large on his 3%-at-50 pension, buying an Anaheim Hills spread with his public spoils. A living, walking reminder of the worst, most unaffordable deal our craven OC politicians ever made with labor.

    2. He is the ideological twin of his DINO running mate Jordan Brandman, who, as part of a secret deal between OCEA and Disney, actually HAS labor’s endorsement (to the chagrin of many of us Democrats and progressives who generally back labor.)

    3. As I’ve written before, there aren’t likely to be any big labor questions coming up in the next few years in Anaheim anyway, thanks to the sweetheart deal OCEA wrung out of the three Council corporatists earlier this year, (who were joined by longtime labor supporter Lorri Galloway, who probably regrets that vote, as it came at the very moment the OCEA was preparing to stab her “Let the People Vote” initiative in the back.)

    4. Steve’s career as a public employee has been particularly expensive to taxpayers, from his $615,000 settlement for excessive force in 1990 to his worker’s compensation claim against the City of Santa Ana earlier this year.

    In short, any Anaheim voters who are primarily motivated by hostility to unions – for one thing, this year’s Council election doesn’t offer you any great choices or opportunities, but in any case Steven Albert Semi-Chavez Lodge is not your man..

    • OC Insider said


      Thank you for pointing out the missing part of Ward’s petition, although my point still stands without it. Ms. Ward’s refusal to just answer some very simple questions runs counter to her usual M.O.

      You say she “nearly won” her lawsuit. Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Lawsuits are won or lost. No “almosts.”

      “As I’ve written before, there aren’t likely to be any big labor questions coming up in the next few years in Anaheim anyway, thanks to the sweetheart deal OCEA wrung out of the three Council corporatists earlier this year,..”

      Incorrect. That deal expires in early 2014, so big contract negotiations with OCEA/AMEA are in the near future. That’s why OCEA wants its formr Board of Directors member Leos on the council.

      As for that settlement — it was actually in the high $200K range (a judge reduced after the city appealed). And as a left-winger, you’re the last guy to be complaining about “expensive to taxpayers.” Your whole ideology is excessively expensive to taxpayers.

      • This – “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Lawsuits are won or lost. No “almosts.”” – is a cute, cute expression, and I’m sure you patted yourself on the back when you wrote it. But it obviously doesn’t apply here. You yourself wrote that it was “mostly a loss” and by any account it was a split decision. Which also makes it a logical conclusion that each side is gonna be responsible for their own counsel – Cynthia for Woocher, Chavez for Baric.

        I’ll take your word on the $200,000 and maintain that it was a waste of taxpayer money due to Chvez’ ill temper and lack of discipline. I’ll do us both a favor and assume that neither of us like unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. Bigger favor than you’re doing me. If you’re gonna say I’m wasteful because I’m a liberal, I should hold Bush’s trillions of waste against you. But I’d rather talk about the hundreds of millions Lodge’s cronies want to give away to big Anaheim corporations and the 15 million that they might waste fighting against districting.

        Also, it’s weird getting called “Vern” by some guy that’s wearing a mask. Everyone else here can know I’m Vern. Hell, I probably know you, and you’ll probably grin at me some time this month. As long as you’re anonymous I would prefer that you address me as “Zorro,” ok?

        • OC Insider said

          “This – “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Lawsuits are won or lost. No “almosts.”” – is a cute, cute expression, and I’m sure you patted yourself on the back when you wrote it. But it obviously doesn’t apply here.”

          Oooh. Being snarky and insulting. That must have hit home.

          And yeah, it does apply. Knocking “Chavez” off the ballot name was Ward’s goal. She failed. Not “almost succeeded.” Failed. As in, the judge’s decision was tghe opposite of what she wanted.

          And don’t take my word on the ultimate size of the settlement. It was in the OC Register story. And that stemmed from an incident in 1985. That’s almost 30 years ago. From what I’ve read about you Vern, you’re the last person who should be judging someone’s character based on past mistakes — and according to your former blog buddy, your mistakes are a lot more recent.

  3. thinkoc said

    OK OC Insider, I have to come clean.

    I really, really have NOTHING to hide. Honestly, at this point I just love watching you come unglued because I will not take the bait. I sit here and watch you spin out of control, it is better than anything on television. So let’s be clear. You will never, ever get that information out of me, simply because I do not feel like telling you, and I owe you nothing. Same answer I give to Spirit of 76 over at Voice of OC. It gives me a sick sense of power to feel like I have this utterly useless information that you seem to be losing sleep, and possibly developing an ulcer, to get. I admit it. If I am not condemned to everlasting torment, I am at least doing a few years in blog comments purgatory just for being so darned mean.

    You know I have done nothing wrong or you would have filed a complaint with FPPC by now. The more likely scenario is that you tried and they told you there is no conflict. So you are left to spin your bile and vitriol here, where frankly nobody cares about some two-bit Trustee on a small independent district with zero political influence. If this is where you want to spend your time and energy you are welcome to it, post all you want.

    I ignore you because I choose to. I ignore you because sometimes I count how many times you will post challenges to me between answers, just for fun. The whole thing has become so ridiculous that some of my friends have made it into a drinking game. Every time someone demands to know who is paying Cynthia’s legal bills, DRINK! I have very happy friends-with bad livers.

    I ignore you because I can.

    Deal with it.


    • junior said

      Fine CW – but don’t expect people to take you quite as seriously in the future. Your gravitas has slipped a notch.

      • thinkoc said

        Really? From a guy hiding behind a pen name?

        (Mike) I put my name on everything I write, including lawsuits, filed with ZERO personal gain, in the name of watching out for Anaheim taxpayers from some political form of a Ken doll, who comes vacuum sealed complete with plastic carpetbag accessory package and the little credit card reader by Mattel. You talk to me about putting yourself out there, and taking the constant abuse of those with an obvious axe to grind, hiding behind bushes and rocks to pick off those of us out in the open trying to do what is right.

        I put my ass out there all the time, taking the backstabbing from anonymous morons without the testicular fortitude to even put their names on a post. I have high heels bigger than your gravitas.

        Oh, and DRINK.

    • OC Insider said

      Cynthia, I don’t come unglued. If you want to dodge and evade an easily answered and relevant question, go ahead. It’s your credibility that takes the hit.

      Oh, and Junior has asked you the same question. He’s not anonymous. You know who he is. And you still won’t answer. Kind of undermines your suposed reason for not responding.

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