Grover Beach residents will have three candidates to choose from for mayor this year, including a city council member who was permitted to forgo some election requirements.
The mayor candidates are:
Jeff Lee has served on the city council for six years. Lee has worked hand in hand with Mayor John Shoals in promoting marijuana businesses as an answer to the city’s financial issues.
Elizabeth “Liz” Doukas works as a court reporter. She is running for office to stop what she sees as preferential treatment for public officials and their select business interests.
Debbie Peterson, a current council member, served as mayor from 2012 through 2014. While visiting Hawaii, Peterson had another resident take out nomination papers, gather the signatures and send the information to Peterson who swore her oath in front of a notary in Hawaii.
Grover Beach nomination papers require the candidate’s oath of allegiance “be completed in the presence of the city clerk at the time the candidate files his or her nomination paper.”
City Clerk Donna McMahon said the city attorney told her to “waive” several requirements for Peterson.
California Election Code 202 allows a person who is deployed on active military service outside of the state, to file through a power of attorney, but does not waive the rules for any other class of candidate.
“Part of the thinking was that someone else can pick up and file my papers,” Peterson said. “If it turns out this is not legitimate, of course I would pull out.”
City Attorney David Hale does not believe the elections code requires “the oath to be administered by the elections officer of the candidate’s city,” he said in an email.
It is possible one of the other candidates will contest Peterson’s eligibility.