Among the more well known candidates are San Fernando Mayor and Richard Alarcon protege Nury Martinez, San Fernando City Council Member Maribel De La Torre and LAUSD teacher and CSUN education professor Louis Pugliese. Pugliese, with nowhere near the financial resources of candidates Tamar Galatzan and the late Jon Lauritzen, previously made a very strong showing in the last election forcing the two into a contentious run-off election.
This old dead Republican Mayor suspects that De La Torre will be offered a sweetheart deal to drop out of the race in favor of the political establishment's favorite, Martinez. De La Torre's sister, former San Fernando Mayor and Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez was allegedly rewarded with two concurrent high paying positions with the DWP and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board reportedly in exchange for her agreeing not to run for the City Council seat vacated by Alex Padilla when he was elected to the State Senate, clearing the field for Alarcon. Should De La Torre drop out of the race, the two clear front runners will be Martinez and Pugliese.
In order to improve her electability, Martinez has opted not to use her title of Mayor as her ballot designation but that of "environmental educator" based upon Martinez' volunteer executive director role with Pacoima Beautiful, an organization that does neighborhood cleanups, plants trees, etc.
Pugliese intends to appeal this designation as he feels it misleading to the voters. The candidate says that Martinez' role in the organization is primarily administrative and that environmental education is not the organization's primary purpose. The Sister City has obtained a copy of the complaint Pugliese has filed this morning, the cover letter of which is below:
November 10, 2008
Dear Los Angeles City Clerk,
This letter is to challenge the ballot designation of "environmental educator" for Ms. Nury Martinez on the ballot for the March 2009 LAUSD District 6 primary election as misleading, and to request that it be removed from the ballot.
On the ballot designation worksheet, Ms Martinez stated that she is the Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful, an "environmental health education organization", which she claims qualifies her as an "environmental educator."
According to the organization's Federal form 990 filing (attached), Ms. Martinez is an unpaid, volunteer, director for this organization, whose primary duties are administrative and executive in nature. While education is the tertiary purpose of Pacoima Beautiful, it is not the primary, or sole, purpose, and as the executive director, Ms. Martinez's primary duty is not one of "environmental educator", hence it is not a primary profession, vocation or occupation as defined in the election code.
Further, the National Center for Charitable Statistics reports the IRS classification for Pacoima Beautiful (attached) as "C50-Environmental Beautification", rather than "C60-Environmental Education."
Being that this is an election for the Board of Education, the use of the term "educator" in this case would be misleading by implying that Ms. Martinez's primary vocation is as an educator, which it is not, as she is concurrently the Mayor of the City of San Fernando, and the administrative Executive Director of this organization.
Accordingly, I respectfully request that the ballot designation of "environmental educator" for Ms. Martinez be disallowed.