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Anaheim candidate illegally using the name 'Chavez,' suit claims

Anaheim candidate accused of using fake name
A retired policeman running for a City Council seat in Anaheim is trying to mislead voters by using the name "Chavez" on the November ballot, a lawsuit alleges.

The suit claims that Steve Chavez Lodge added the middle name for political gain. The city of Anaheim has a Latino majority.

Conservative blogger Cynthia Ward said in her lawsuit that "… the use of the middle name 'Chavez' appears to have been adopted recently for political purposes."

Ward said in her suit that Lodge should be barred from using the name “Chavez” because it is not his real name and it is "false, misleading and illegal" to claim otherwise.

But Lodge said in an email Tuesday night that the name on his birth certificate is Steven Albert Chavez. He said Lodge is his stepfather's last name, and that he uses both.

Ward said in a blog post that she started researching Lodge, a former police officer and gang homicide detective after she wondered "who he is and what makes him tick."

Ward's lawsuit also references a background check, Lodge's campaign contributions and his voter registration, which do not use the name Chavez.

Recently the city considered letting voters decide whether to switch to electing council members by district rather than the current at-large system. Proponents say that electing council members by district will help to increase Latino representation in Anaheim, which has seen only three Latino council members in city history.

But instead of placing an item on the November ballot, the council decided to appointed a commission to look into elections in the city.

Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said that he could not comment on the lawsuit, but said as a general rule, candidates use common names by which they are known in the community, including nicknames.

An example is Stan "The Water Man" Dziecielski, who is running for the Santa Margarita Water District.

"If people are known that way in the community or can prove that they are known that way ... then it's generally accepted," he said.


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Photo: Anaheim City Hall. Credit: Los Angeles Times


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