Pleasanton mayoral candidate Julie Testa is going to court Thursday in an effort to compel City Clerk Karen Diaz to file her candidate statement for the Nov. 8 sample election ballot that will be sent to voters Oct. 10.
The hearing on Testa’s petition (Testa v Diaz et al HG16828562) will start at 9 a.m. in Dept. 512, second floor, before Commissioner Thomas Rasch in the Hayward Hall of Justice at 24405 Amador St., Hayward.
Testa’s required nomination papers were accepted just before the filing deadline on Aug. 12. However, the electronic filing of her candidate’s statement for the Sample Ballot, which was emailed at 4:30 p.m. that day, was not accepted by the city clerk.
Diaz first turned away Testa from qualifying as a candidate at all because she did not file the required financial disclosure Form 700 "Statement of Economic Interests.” Diaz relented after Testa and her attorney Matt Morrison showed that they had filed Form 700 directly with the county Registrar’s office.
However, the candidate’s statement, a crucial part of information about candidates that is printed with the Sample Ballot, was not accepted via email, even though it was sent before the 5 p.m. deadline. The hard copy of the statement required by the clerk was filed after the deadline and not accepted.
At issue is an ordinance adopted by the City Council on Dec. 18, 2007 which requires candidates for city offices to file statements both electronically and also to "provide one signed original to the City Clerk's office...on the due date by five o'clock (5:00) P.M."
“Diaz turning Testa away for the missing Form (700) cost valuable time when the candidate discovered her candidate statement had been left behind at (my) office when Testa visited there to electronically file the Form 700,” Morrison said. “Diaz refused to accept a copy of Testa's statement sent via email before the Aug. 12 deadline expired.”
Even though Morrison had emailed Diaz a copy of Testa's candidate statement well-ahead of the 5 p.m. Aug. 12 deadline, Diaz informed Testa that candidate statements are required to be printed out and that she was not permitted to print a copy of the email for filing, nor accept the email itself as Testa's candidate statement.
Morrison said the issue is one of substantial compliance.
For Testa, again time is of the essence. Even if she receives a favorable ruling from Commissioner Rasch , she'll have to rush her statement to the county Registrar, who will stop taking all ballot submissions Friday.