Schools chief to scout replacement

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NORWALK – The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office has reported Grisel Vasquez, who was elected in November to the Los Nietos School Board, to the Fair Political Practices Commission for not submitting her campaign finance reports.The Political Reform Act, passed in 1974, requires all candidates to turn in reports that disclose who contributed to their campaigns and what the money was spent on.In the recent local races, two reports were due before the Nov. 8 election, but Vasquez as of Thursday still had turned nothing in, according to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office files.Vasquez has been reported to the commission for not turning in a report due Sept. 29.She also hasn’t turned in a report that was due Oct. 27. Officials from the Registrar-Recorder’s Office say they expect to refer that case to the commission sometime next week.Vasquez blamed her own inexperience for not following the law, but said she will be turning in her reports soon.“As a first-time runner, I wasn’t really sure how everything worked,” she said. “Now that I have the information, I gave it to my campaign manager and I will be filing soon.”The commission now will open an investigation, which could include interviewing witnesses and issuing subpoenas.Eventually, the commission could levy fines that would come on top of the penalty of $10 for each day the report is late.Chris Espinosa, spokesman for the commission, said he has no idea how long the investigation will take.Violations such as Vasquez’s defeat the purpose of the campaign disclosure laws, said Theis Finlev, policy advocate for Common Cause, a political reform group.“The campaign disclosure law exists so the voters can see who’s funding what campaigns, where the money is going and get a sense of who’s behind the candidates,” Finlev said.Violation of the Political Reform Act is a misdemeanor. These cases typically are referred only to the commission because the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute them in the past, said Deborah Wright, executive liaison officer for the Registrar-Recorder’s Office.Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said the office is willing to review any cases submitted to them.“We’ve never told anybody `don’t bring us the case,”‘ Robison said. “In reality because it’s just a misdemeanor, the (commission) can levy far heavier fines than if we prosecuted them,” Robison said.Vasquez is the only candidate to be referred to the commission, but several other Whittier-area school board candidates have been fined for turning their statements in late. Geri Guzman, who was re-elected to the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education, has been fined $190. She turned in Oct. 18 a statement that was due Sept. 29.Victor Juan, an unsuccessful candidate for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board of Education, was fined $100. His Sept. 29 statement was turned in Nov. 17. He wasn’t fined at the $10 per day rate because the maximum fine for a candidate filing a statement saying he will spend less than $1,000 is $100.Three other candidates have been fined for turning in late the second campaign finance statement before the election due Oct. 27.Louis Reyes, an unsuccessful candidate for Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees, was fined $400. He submitted his report Dec. 6.James Roybal, an unsuccessful candidate for El Rancho Unified School District board, was fined $320. He turned in his statement Nov. 28.Ana Valencia, who was re-elected to the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District Board of Education, has been fined $410. She submitted her statement Thursday.Valencia has been fined $800 during the past four years for turning in late statements. [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022last_img