Rivals in supervisorial race challenge Englander claim of being a cop

Three candidates running in the crowded race to replace retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich filed a legal challenge Friday to rival candidate Mitch Englander’s description of his occupation on the ballot.

Englander, a Los Angeles city councilman and LAPD reserve police officer, described himself as a “Councilmember/Police Officer" in his ballot designation.

The opponents -- prosecutor Elan Carr, state Sen. Bob Huff and Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian -- argued in a court filing that the designation gives a misleading impression that he is a full-time cop rather than a volunteer reserve officer. They argued that the county registrar should not have accepted Englander's proposed ballot designation and asked for a court order blocking it from being used.

California election law requires the ballot designation to describe the candidate's "principal profession, vocation or occupation." The rival candidates argued that Englander's chosen designation is "misleading, factually inaccurate and confusing" because he does not make his living as a police officer and said that his principal job is his elected position on the council.

Englander's campaign spokesman, Josh Pulliam, said the complaint has "no merit."

"He graduated the top of his class at the Police Academy and has served in uniform for over a decade," he said. "This lawsuit is a political stunt."

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Englander's opponents also complained that he had not specified which city's council he sits on, arguing that it could cause confusion because much of the county's 5th supervisorial district lies outside the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles.

The district includes the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita and parts of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.

The other candidates argued that voters who live in a city other than Los Angeles who see the "councilmember" designation under Englander's name "may erroneously conclude that the candidate must be a councilmember for their city," the complaint states.

Pulliam said there was not room to designate the city because the county allows only three words. 

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Antonovich is being pushed out by term limits after 36 years on the county board. Eight people are running to replace him.

Along with Englander, Carr, Huff and Najarian, the others running are Antonovich's chief of staff, Kathryn Barger; real estate investor Rajpal Kahlon; Altadena town Councilman Billy Malone; and entrepreneur Darrell Park.

abby.sewell@latimes.com

Twitter: @sewella

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