Saturday, September 1, 2012

White to take case against mayor to federal judge

STOCKTON - Former mayoral candidate Ralph Lee White this month will ask a federal judge overseeing Stockton's bankruptcy to let him pursue his case against Mayor Ann Johnston over term limits.

White said he believes the city inappropriately lumped the suit he initiated among 54 cases the City Attorney's Office froze under a provision of the U.S. bankruptcy code, which gives the debtor temporary relief while it reorganizes finances.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein on Sept. 18 will hear White in person making his plea to lift the stay against on his suit.

"I will have an opportunity to speak," White said Thursday. "And I will quite naturally speak my mind."

White and the Stockton Black Leadership Council in May took Johnston and the city to court, arguing that the mayor had exceeded the number of terms allowed under the city charter.

The case hinged on Section 606 of the city charter, which says:
          "No person elected as either Mayor or Councilmember shall be eligible to serve, or serve, as either Mayor or Councilmember for more than two (2) terms..."
He will ask Judge Klein to allow him to have Superior Court Judge Holland reconsider his ruling and possibly petition the state's Third District Court of Appeal for a review.

Johnston declined to comment for this story. City officials, who have defended her right to run for a second term as mayor, also had no comment.

Contact Reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or       Visit his blog 

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