Second-place school board candidate Christopher Arellano may have wanted out of the June 6 runoff election, but it turns out he’s not going anywhere. L.A. City Clerk Frank Martinez said Thursday that a legal opinion from City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo states that Arellano —whose campaign collapsed following revelations about his criminal record and misrepresentations of his academic record — cannot be taken off the ballot.
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Martinez would not immediately provide a copy of the opinion, which came to him via e-mail, saying he and the city’s lawyers will present the information Friday to the City Council. The information crushed third-place candidate Enrique Gasca, who had hoped he would be bumped up into the runoff against Mónica García, who received 47.3 percent of the vote in the March 7 primary election — just shy of avoiding a runoff.
“People that want to run should be allowed to run, and people who want to stay out should be allowed to stay out,” said Gasca, who drew 13 percent of the vote.
Arellano stumbled badly in the primary after information emerged about his two convictions on theft charges and his false assertion that he had completed a double master’s degree from USC. His spokeswoman, Heather Repenning, said earlier this week that Arellano had wanted to give a shot to Gasca, who — like Arellano — opposed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Martinez said he will recommend that the council proceed with García and Arellano as the two candidates. Although someone could still challenge the city’s legal opinion or file as a write-in candidate, both scenarios are unlikely in a race where García was less than three percentage points away from avoiding a runoff in the first place.