An Anaheim City Council candidate accused in a lawsuit of using a false Latino name on the ballot has called on plaintiff Cynthia Ward to reveal her lawsuit’s funding sources.
The candidate, who is to appear on the ballot as Steve Chavez Lodge, writes in an email blast that Ward, a blogger and City Hall watcher, “is a person of nominal financial resources” and needs to live up to the ethics she preaches.
“Will Cynthia Ward do the right thing and tell the community who’s paying? Or, will she continue to hide the truth?” Lodge writes.
The speculation is that the suit was funded by labor unions that support former union leader John Leos, who is running against Lodge.
The lawsuit asserts that Chavez is not the candidate’s legal name and was not used when he registered to vote and bought property.
At stake is a ballot designation that could be more appealing to the city’s Latino voters. While the city is more than 50 percent Latino, none of the current council members are Latino, with the possible exception of Councilwoman Lorri Galloway, who claims to be half Latina because of her father’s Spanish heritage.
Lodge, meanwhile, claimed in a court declaration that his true name is Steven Albert Chavez. Lodge wrote that his mother remarried when he was a boy and adopted the stepfather’s name, Lodge, for her son, but the name never was changed legally. He argued that the community knows him as Steve Chavez Lodge and that he has testified in court as Steven Albert Chavez Lodge.
Lodge argues in court documents that the suit is nothing more than a political maneuver “from a very active participant and commentator on the Anaheim politics. … Petitioner’s lawsuit is the worst form of political gamesmanship — using the court to implement a political goal.”
Ward declined to comment when asked whether she obtained funding for the suit from independent sources. Instead, she slammed Chavez’s call as a disturbing attack on a city resident and a sign of future aggression on an already divisive City Council.
“I have done nothing illegal, unethical or immoral, and unlike Lodge, I am not sending email blasts begging others to pay my legal bills,” Ward said.
“Lodge can call me what he wants. Last week I was a ‘housewife and mother.’ This week I am a political blogger. … If he wants to represent me [on the City Council], he needs to do a better job of showing leadership.”
This isn’t the first time Lodge sent an email blast questioning Ward’s funding sources. In a previous email asking for campaign contributions, Lodge wrote, “It’s mystifying to me how a mother and housewife can afford such an expensive undertaking.”
“Ms. Ward, a mother and housewife, has retained one of the most expensive high-powered L.A. political lawyers to sue me over my name,” he added.
Lodge did not return phone calls seeking comment.
— ADAM ELMAHREK
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