MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — Ballot Designation — April 2, 2014

Although I am no longer a candidate, I still am in the news for campaign related stories. As I am not permitted to send out UPDATES on campaign subject matter from my regular UPDATE account at the County, I can at least provide some insights from my personal account.

Thank you for your support and encouragement. When I start something, I usually finish it. So pulling out of the 45th Congressional race was difficult for me. I am still going through the various stages of grief. I have been catching up at the office these past few weeks, closing down my Congressional campaign, and spending more time with my patient wife. We’ve even been spotted at the local theater, catching a current movie.

The Daily Pilot covers an interesting topic in their piece below. One wonders if one of the candidates seeking to replace me is embarrassed about her current elected position. I would think that most of us are taxpayer advocates, a title which seems rather trite. Why not proudly state your current position? In my practice days, if you were not a partner, you were an employee. And if you’re an employee, you’re not technically a business person. But, if we stretch it a tad, I guess everyone who is employed is a business person. But why be so vague? It makes one ask, "What else is being white washed or papered over?" How about residency? Or at least the length of residency in the County of Orange? It seems odd to me that someone from Los Angeles County is running for an Orange County Supervisorial seat. I don’t know if Assemblyman Allan Mansoor did the SBOE member a favor or not, but the County’s outstanding Registrar of Voters should demand more clarity and discourage the use of euphemisms. The Judge got this one right, but it was an easy call to make.

Judge: Steel must change ballot designation

Mansoor wins challenge to opponent in race for O.C. supervisor.

By Jill Cowan

In a win for her opponent, Orange County Board of Supervisors candidate Michelle Steel will have to change her official occupation from "taxpayer advocate/businesswoman" to "Board of Equalization member" on the ballot, a judge has ruled.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa), who is running against Steel for the Board of Supervisors’ 2nd District seat, had alleged in a lawsuit that the Surfside resident’s chosen ballot designation was misleading.

Steel’s role on the state Board of Equalization, which is tasked with considering tax appeals, is "quasi-judicial," the suit alleged, and that is her main job.

According to a court order dated March 25, Orange County Superior Court Judge Franz E. Miller agreed.

In addition to the change in Steel’s ballot designation, which is the job title listed alongside candidates’ names, the document ordered that a reference to Steel’s status as a business owner be deleted from her candidate statement.

Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, who earlier declined a request by Mansoor to require Steel to drop the "taxpayer advocate/businesswoman" tags, said Friday that his office has already made the ordered changes.

Kelley and Steel were the named respondents in the suit.

Mansoor called the decision a "great victory."

"Deep down, I knew that the truth would come out, and we’re glad with the outcome," he said Friday.

Dave Gilliard, a campaign consultant for Steel, said, "We think the judge got it wrong."

Steel, he said, is known on the Board of Equalization as an advocate for taxpayers when disputes arise. He added that she is the controller of husband Shawn Steel’s law firm, which should allow her to use the title "businesswoman."

Going forward, though, Gilliard said, "It’s not a big enough issue to worry about" to warrant further action.

"She’s got plenty of opportunity to tell voters about her background and her history," he said, "and we’re confident when they see that, they’ll be receptive."

Steel’s Twitter moniker is still @TaxFighterSteel.

She and Mansoor are vying to replace Supervisor John Moorlach, who will be termed out of the board’s District 2 seat, representing parts of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, among other cities.

Joe Carchio, Huntington Beach city councilman and retired business owner, and Jim Moreno, governing board member of the Coast Community College District, are also running.

The statewide primary election will be held June 3.

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