A Newport Beach resident is challenging the description of a City Council candidate as a businessman on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Dock tax opponent Bob McCaffrey filed a lawsuit Monday in Orange County Superior Court against the county's registrar of voters, Neal Kelley, and Newport Beach City Clerk Leilani Brown, alleging that the occupational descriptor for District 4 candidate Tim Brown — no relation — is deceptive.
Brown's occupation is listed as "Planning Commissioner/Businessman" on the ballot, although the planning duties are not in dispute.
Newport Beach City Atty. Aaron Harp said the occupational designation was determined to be appropriate based on information that Brown provided to the city clerk.
"Our office has reviewed the lawsuit, and we believe the city clerk's determination that council candidate Tim Brown is a businessman is correct," Harp wrote in an email.
In the petition, McCaffrey, who headed the "Stop the Dock Tax" movement and has helped raise funds for District 3 council candidate Marshall "Duffy" Duffield, argues that Brown's own ballot statement describes him as a professor at Riverside City College.
Brown's "primary source of income" comes from the college, not his educational consulting firm, Tim Brown and Associates, according to the court document.
To describe Brown as a businessman would be "misleading" and would "result in irreparable injury to the voting public," the petition said.
"Tim Brown should be proud of his profession as a reading instructor at Riverside Community College," McCaffrey wrote in an email. "He shouldn't try to hide his noble profession by claiming he is a businessman."
Tim Brown referred questions to attorney Mark Rosen, who called the allegations "totally bogus."
Rosen said Brown has a business, "and McCaffrey should have done his homework."
A hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Orange County Superior Court Central Justice Center.
[For the record, 10:05 a.m. Aug. 22: An earlier version of this story incorrectly gave candidate Marshall "Duffy" Duffield's district as District 1. It should have said District 3.]