At the perjury trial of former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, a former city employee testified Tuesday that Alarcon told her he wasn’t living in the district he represented when he was elected.
Carolyn Jackson, who worked with city lawmakers as a representative of the city Department of Transportation before retiring in 2010, testified that she met with Alarcon in May 2007, two months after he was elected to the council.
She said when she congratulated him, Alarcon told her: “You know, I wasn’t even living in the district when I was elected.” Jackson said he added: “I am now, of course."
She said she was surprised and “pretty angry,” because “it’s illegal to run in a district you don’t live in.”
Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes De Oca Alarcon, are accused of falsely claiming to reside in what was then the San Fernando Valley’s 7th Council District. Alarcon ran for the seat and represented the area until he was termed out of office last year.
Under the City Charter, City Council candidates must reside in the district they seek to represent.
Together, the Alarcons face 22 perjury and voter fraud counts in connection with allegedly filing false campaign, voter registration and Department of Motor Vehicles documents between 2006 and 2009.
Prosecutors allege the couple falsely declared they lived in Panorama City in the 7th District, when they actually lived outside the district in Sun Valley.
The Alarcons say they were renovating the Panorama City house and weren’t always there, but it remained their permanent, legal residence.
Jackson testified Tuesday that after her 2007 meeting with Alarcon, she returned to her office and wrote “Alarcon does not live in his district” on a yellow legal pad, and then crumpled up the paper and threw it in the trash.
Alarcon’s attorney, Richard Lasting, sought to cast doubt on Jackson’s memory of events that day. He asked her to recall other parts of her conversation with Alarcon, and pointed to discrepancies between what she said on the stand at a preliminary hearing and in front of a grand jury and what she recalled Tuesday. The discrepancies centered on which traffic issue Alarcon had asked Jackson to look into, and if the two discussed whether they attended the same middle school.
Lasting also said that during previous testimony Jackson asked to look at notes from the meeting with Alarcon so she could accurately answer questions about a city issue they discussed. He suggested that called into question the accuracy of her recollections about Alarcon’s comments about where he lived.
Jackson testified that she didn’t need notes to remember something “shocking” that bothered her.
Attorneys for the Alarcons argue that for the purposes of voting and running for office, the election code defines a residence as a “domicile” or permanent residence that a person plans to return to.
They contend the Alarcons were domiciled at the Panorama City house, even when they weren’t staying there.
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