California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D) is facing stiff competition for the 43rd assembly district seat from none other than Sunder Ramani (R). Now there are allegations surfacing that Ramani is a carpetbagger. Is he another Richard Alarcon?
Meet Republican Sunder Ramani, Perennial Candidate for the 43rd State Assembly District
When Paul Krekorian vacated the assembly seat in December of 2009, he moved on to the Los Angeles City Council. Democratic contender Mike Gatto and Republican counterpart Sunder Ramani faced off in the April, 2010 primaries. Gatto garnered 31.96 percent of the votes while Ramani got a respectable 31.10 percent.
During the June, 2010 special general election, Gatto easily beat Ramani with 58.58 to 41.42 percent. Of course, Mike Gatto cannot rest on his laurels but must already gear up for the 2010 gubernatorial general election in November, 2010.
Once again Gatto and Sunder Ramani face off. Ramani hopes, of course, that the fight between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman will draw out Republican voters in full force, which could narrow (or overcome) the gap between him and his opponent.
California Elections and Carpet Bagging
California law requires politicians to live in the districts they represent. This has led to sometimes creative living arrangements and efforts at redistricting. A politician who surreptitiously lives in a district other than the one he represents is said to be a carpetbagger.
The most recent Los Angeles politician to face allegations of carpet bagging is L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who represents the 7th district. He and his wife were indicted on a total of 18 counts including perjury and voter fraud. In a bizarre tale of a home twice vandalized by a squatter and the subsequent need to move out of the residence for safety and other reasons, Alarcon denies all allegations.
Now there appears to be another alleged carpetbagger on the California elections horizon: Sunder Ramani.
Sunder Ramani a Carpetbagger?
The Los Angeles Times reports that once again the L.A. district attorney had to field allegations of improperly listed addresses in the case of a political candidate. The Secretary of State lists Mr. Ramani’s address as being 301 East Glenoaks Boulevard in Glendale, but recent complaints suggest that he instead lives at his residence in La Cañada Flintridge, which decidedly falls outside the district.
In January of this year, the candidate re-registered to vote at the in-district address, suggesting that he physically moved his residence to that venue. Unless his wife declines to vote, or there is trouble on the marital horizon, Mrs. Ramani did not follow suit and is still registered to vote in La Cañada Flintridge. When pressed, Sunder Ramani revealed that he does receive mail in his in-district apartment and lives there “more than 50% of the time,” which ought to suffice to satisfy the letter of the law.
He plans on making a permanent move (if) when he wins. Although L.A. politician Sunder Ramani may be fulfilling the letter of the law, he is clearly violating its spirit. Moreover, for a candidate who runs on slogans such as “it’s time to hold everyone accountable,” he shows a rather cozy relationship with loopholes and carpet bagging.