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Assembly candidate Ricardo Lara sued over ballot designation

March 24, 2010 |  5:09 pm

A Los Angeles area businessman has filed suit over the ballot designation claimed by legislative aide Ricardo Lara, a candidate for the 50th Assembly District in the June 8 state primary.

Lara, one of four Democrats seeking their party's nomination for the South Gate/Lynwood area district, described himself as a "consumer affairs commissioner" in candidacy papers filed with Los Angeles County elections officials.

But in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Sacramento County Superior Court, businessman Joe Ruiz contends that the title, which would appear next to Lara's name on the ballot, would mislead voters. 

The suit says  Lara missed meetings for at least a year as an appointed member of the Los Angeles County Consumer Affairs Advisory Commission. It also claims that the title violates the strict guidelines for ballot designations and that Lara should have used something that reflected his job as an aide to Assemblyman Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), who represents the 45th District.

"Ricardo Lara's disingenuous first act as a candidate is more of the same political deceit and trickery that has plagued [district] voters for far too long," said Mike Roth, an attorney who filed the suit on Ruiz's behalf.

Lara could not be reached immediately for comment.

A hearing on the suit has been set for April 6, three days ahead of the county's deadline for printing the ballots, Roth said.

In addition to Lara, Democrats Carmen Avalos, Luis Marquez and Art Oliver will be on the ballot.  Republicans P.J. Mellana and Gladys O. Miller also are running.

-- Jean Merl

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