Gail Powell

Gail Powell is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Public Defender Coker Endorses D.A. Dumanis’s Mayoral Run

GOOD NEWS for those who despise scheming D.A.'s and clueless Public Defenders: there has now been filed Hatch Act violation complaints regarding these intemperate endorsements. Re: "the endorsement of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis for Mayor of San Diego; Dave Berry for Superior Court Judge; and Robert Amador for Superior Court Judge. All endorsements from PD Coker are for the June 5, 2012 San Diego County elections. They are conflicts-of-interests, and separate Federal Hatch Act violations. Please note all parties including Coker, Dumanis, Berry, and Amador are actually lawyers in San Diego County, who do not understand that Federal law applies to local San Diego elections, due to the County's approval of Federal dollars and grants for Homeland Security and law enforcement. The County of San Diego, by their acceptance of Federal Funds for Homeland Security amongst others, requires local government’s non-elected officials to refrain from Politics with the use of their appointed title. Citizen Coker can endorse anyone he wants. However County of San Diego Public Defender Coker is banned from political speech and endorsements. Even for his good friends Dumanis, Berry, and Amador. In theory the Federal Hatch Act requires the County of San Diego to fire violators, or pay back Federal funds as a form of punishment. Under the Federal Hatch Act, local San Diego County government employees like Public Defender Henry Coker, and some non-profit entities are prohibited from "Using their official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the results of an election or a nomination for office." Please see Page 13 for the October 27, 2011 email from Ronald Lane of the County of San Diego that states the County of San Diego's position as it relates to conformance with the Federal Hatch Act: "We are in receipt of your email regarding Mr. Coker's endorsement of Ms. Dumanis for Mayor of the City of San Diego. It does not appear to us that the Hatch Act or any provisions of state and local law restricts a county employees political speech." Endorsements by local non-elected government officials have probably been ongoing in San Diego County for the last 81 years since the passage of the Federal Hatch Act of 1939. Our ultimate goal would be for any lawyer, government official, or non-profit entity to understand the Federal law, its blatant abuse in San Diego County, and end the illegal political practice. Please investigate if our analysis is correct."
— February 7, 2012 1:13 p.m.

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