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Residency Ruling Bars Homeless Candidate

January 15, 1989|MIKE WARD | Times Staff Writer

PASADENA — The city attorney has ruled that David John Wachtel, who filed nomination papers for the Board of Directors in District 3, has failed to qualify for the ballot because he has not demonstrated that he lives in the district.

Wachtel, who described himself in his nomination papers as a homeless street performer, poet, artist and paralegal, filed his candidacy Jan. 6, the deadline, and then gave the city clerk a memo Jan. 9 declaring his desire to withdraw from the ballot and become a write-in candidate.

The Elections Code prohibits a candidate from withdrawing his nomination papers after the filing deadline, City Atty. Victor Kaleta said in a six-page written opinion. But, Kaleta said, Wachtel cannot qualify for the ballot because he does not meet the residence requirement.

Residence in City Park

Kaleta noted that a state Court of Appeal decision in 1985 permitted a homeless person in Santa Barbara to establish a voting residence in a city park. But, Kaleta said, that case did not consider whether a homeless person can use a park address to become a candidate.

In his nomination papers, Wachtel said he lives at Memorial Park and on various sidewalks. But in his Jan. 9 memo to the city clerk, Wachtel said he had decided against establishing homeless residence and will keep "the temporary transient shelter I presently have access to." He did not give the shelter's address.

Kaleta said the memo shows either that Wachtel has not established residence in the district or, if he did, that he did not maintain it.

Wachtel's failure to qualify leaves three candidates in the March 7 election for the District 3 seat, which Director Loretta Thompson-Glickman is giving up. The candidates are Chris Holden, Michael Zinzun and Gretchen Sterling.

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