Tonight, the Santa Ana City Council is holding a Special Meeting to install new council members elected on November 6, 2018. David Penaloza and Cecilia Iglesias will take their seats rightfully and without controversy. TheLiberalOC has learned that Ward 4 victor Roman Reyna faces a legal challenge over his qualifications of Roman Reyna to as a Ward 4 candidate. Phil Bacerra, former Planning Commissioner and Ward 4 candidate, has filed a lawsuit against Reyna asserting that Reyna committed fraud in lying about living in Ward 4 so that he could run from that Ward against Bacerra.
The Santa Ana Charter says that to be qualified to run as a candidate for council for a Santa Ana ward, said candidate must be a resident of that ward for 30 days before the clerk issues candidacy papers. Reyna lived in Ward 5, then moved to Ward 6, and he didn’t register to vote in Ward 4 until 17 days before he was issued candidacy papers. Emails and text messages between Reyna and city officials are evidence that Reyna was not a legal resident of Ward 4 and probably should have been denied a spot on the ballot to begin with.
Reyna must decide to proceed with being sworn in or possible risk being barred from running for elective office if courts rule he did not meet residency requirements to run in the first place. DA-elect Todd Spitzer has vowed to prosecute political crime as it relates to residency issues. Will Spitzer get involved here?
When running for official and filing candidacy papers, candidates sign depositions under penalty of perjury. If Bacerra’s lawsuit prevails, the city council must decide on how to fill the seat — either via an appointment or via a special election. Just when you thought the November 2-018 election results were final everywhere, they aren’t.