Judge Puts Hodge on Ballot for Oakland Council

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday March 28, 2008

Posted Fri., March 28—A Superior Court judge ruled today that Oakland school boardmember Greg Hodge must be placed on the June 3 ballot for the City Council race for District 3, setting up what is expected to be a fierce election challenge to incumbent Councilmember Nancy Nadel. 

Judge Frank Roesch wasted no time in making his decision, ruling immediately following attorneys’ arguments in a Friday morning hearing that Hodge had substantially complied with the state election code in presenting the City of Oakland with a nominating petition containing the signatures of 50 registered voters in District 3. 

Roesch also ruled that Assistant City Clerk Marjo Keller had not acted improperly in the matter. 

The City Clerk’s office disqualified Hodge a week ago, ruling that his petition contained only 49 valid signatures. 

At issue was the signature of a Myrtle Street resident whose single dwelling has two legal addresses. The resident is registered to vote at one of the house’s addresses, but signed Hodge’s petition with the second address. Because the state election code requires that the addresses on the registration form and a candidate’s nominating petition have to be identical, Keller said she had no choice but to invalidate the signature. 

Following the judge’s ruling, Keller said, “I feel what I did was proper,” and was following state law. 

Hodge said he was happy about the judge’s order, adding, “I think the judge made a fair decision.” 

Besides Hodge, who represents District 3 on the school board, Nadel is being challenged by Covenant House Development Director Sean Sullivan, a political newcomer.