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It looks like The People’s Reporter has two more assignments to complete today, so here we go:

Assignment: “How is it possible?” said: “Here’s another assignment for you, Andrew: How is it possible that James Hartline could be running for City Council, in District 3, when he is a multiple convicted felon, who spent many years in prison? Thank you.”

First, for some background, read this in-depth profile of Hartline by former voiceofsandiego.org and San Diego CityBeat reporter Dan Strumpf.

Second, I haven’t done any original research on whether Hartline is an actual felon, so this answer is just geared toward the basic question of whether a felon in general could run for San Diego City Council.

I checked with the Ethics Commission and the City Clerk and neither knew, but made it clear that this was something that fell under the purview of the City Attorney’s Office. I have a call into the elections person there for a final opinion, but I haven’t gotten a call back yet.

But here’s what I gather from my research: there is no problem with someone who’s been convicted of a crime running for office. Basically, the city’s requirement is that the candidate must live within the city boundaries. Beyond that, they just have to qualify as a voter under California’s laws, it seems.

And here’s what the state law says:

Who May Register to Vote
You may register to vote if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a United States citizen
  • You are a resident of California
  • You are at least 18 years of age (or will be by the date of the next election)
  • You are not in prison or on parole for conviction of a felony
  • You have not been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote

More specifically, this is from the FAQ on the Secretary of State’s website:

Question: Can an ex-felon register to vote and vote?
Answer: An ex-felon can register to vote and vote if he/she is not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

Assignment: ChulaVistan asked: “Find out who paid for Cheryl Cox’s trips to Gaylord Hotels back east.”

Liz Pursell, spokeswoman for the city of Chula Vista, said Cheryl Cox did take a trip to Dallas for such a purpose, and that she paid for it herself. Pursell said Cox is very careful about issues like that. “She’s got the receipts,” she said.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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