District 5: The Ethic of Batten & Co.

Eric Andersen Eric Andersen 4 Comments


Responding to the recent post by Patrick Batten’s campaign donor, Brian Brady, “Joe Leventhal, is you or is you ain’t a candidate?” — Brady puts to question the ethic of Joe Leventhal by defining the term “candidate” in a fashion not enumerated in the City of San Diego’s Municipal Code. 

We don’t have the privilege of creating our own definition of “candidate.”

Here is the link governing the definition:
San Diego’s Municipal Code Section 27.2903

Candidate means any individual who:
(a) Is listed on the ballot. (Leventhal is not.)
(b) Has circulated nominating petitions. (He has not.)
(c) Has received contributions or made expenditures. (Leventhal has not.)
(d) Is a City officeholder subject to recall. (He is not.)

Note the absence of any reference to “declaring candidacy.”

Does Leventhal know who his consultant will be? Of course, but that’s a long way from making expenditures to them or having them act on his behalf. 

Can Leventhal write his own “professional” endorsement pieces? Of course. (He married his PR staffer). What he cannot do is violate (a) through (d) above.

Is the Batten campaign suggesting Leventhal is so foolish as to act in a way unbecoming to the San Diego Ethics Commission? I will leave it to Rostra readers to determine whose action is unbecoming of an officer. 

Brady isn’t acting alone in the spread of misinformation. I’ve heard it from Patrick Batten and from members of the 71st Assembly District Republican Caucus.

Batten needs to publicly put an end to this and move the conversation toward policy. 

* * *

Full disclosure: Author Eric Andersen has met individually with both candidates. He was present when Leventhal was privately introduced to the 71st Caucus. He has given neither a dollar nor an endorsement.


Comments 4

  1. Post

    I understand your frustration with the law. It doesn’t codify all the activity we we associate with being a candidate. Don’t shoot Leventhal. He’s only the piano player. He didn’t write the music.

    Please help move this conversation toward policy.

  2. Brian… Joe is doing exactly what he should be doing at this point in time: He is talking with as many people privately about his intentions, but is not taking a dime. Eric is right on this. I looked up the code myself for the same reasons Eric did – to make sure I had my facts right.

    Your question is a cheap distraction and I am absolutely certain you’re better than that. Tell us what you think we need at City Hall and why you think Batten is the person to deliver that… I’ll explain what I think we need, and why I think Joe is the person to deliver…

  3. “I understand your frustration with the law.”

    I am not frustrated with the law at all. I invite inlookers to read the linked article where I said,
    “Naturally, I think these rules are stupid but the rules are the rules. I imagine Leventhal will rely on the title “Former Ethics Commissioner” for his ballot designation, and I imagine that the reasoning behind the cooling off period is to prevent Ethics Commissioners to leverage their title in an election.”

    I also said, “But ‘ethical’ and legal are not synonymous words.”

    Joe Leventhal is running for City Council and most likely following the letter of the law. If he tries to leverage the title “Ethics Commissioner” in his campaign, he should be called on it.

    Oh, wait. He just was.

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