The City of Santa Monica has denied City Council candidate Jerry Rubin the right to describe his profession as “peace activist” on the City ballot.
The City Municipal Code does not recognize the term activist as a job description, nor does the Secretary of State’s regulation.
City Clerk Maria Stewart said she notified Rubin last week that his use of the term activist had been denied. She said that “We had already talked about it and he said that he was going to [file under that description] even though he knew that we would deny it.”
Rubin had tried in vain to list himself as an activist when he ran for City Council in 2000. He was successful in changing his name legally to Jerry Peace Activist Rubin and will be allowed to list his name this way on the ballot. He also filed a lawsuit against the City. After the 9th District Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2002, upheld the City and State contention that “activist” is a ‘status” not a job description, Rubin took the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.
Stewart says that cities usually follow state guidelines regarding ballot designations unless a City Charter has a rule that takes precedence. Following Rubin’s lawsuit, the City Council amended the Municipal Code to specifically require the City Clerk to follow state guidelines.
Rubin says that he will continue to fight for the right to describe himself as an activist and hopes to enlist a California legislator to take the issue to the federal level.
“Activism is my job,” he says. “And it’s a really hard job!”