Friday, April 26, 2013

Marcie Hodge’s Very Bad Day

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Former Peralta colleges trustee Marcie Hodge had a very bad day on Thursday, as a pair of legal rulings made clear that her unsuccessful run for mayor of Oakland in 2010 was ill-considered. First, the state’s primary political watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, voted unanimously to fine her $5,000 for violating campaign election laws during the 2010 mayor’s race. And then, a few hours later, a three-judge appellate panel released a unanimous decision against her. The appellate court denied her appeal of lower court’s decision to toss a libel suit she had filed against the Express, concerning its coverage of her 2010 mayoral campaign.

The FPPC’s vote affirmed the findings of an investigation that the agency had launched against Hodge — an investigation that was prompted by news reports by the Express and other media outlets about her 2010 campaign. As we noted earlier this month, the FPPC investigation concluded that Hodge and her mother, Yvonne Hodge (who was her campaign treasurer), had violated state election laws because they failed to disclose Marcie Hodge’s campaign donors or her campaign expenditures prior to the 2010 election. According to the FPPC, Marcie and Yvonne Hodge admitted to breaking the law and agreed to pay the $5,000 fine.

The appellate court decision, meanwhile, concerned a libel suit that Marcie Hodge had filed against the Express over a column I wrote during the 2010 mayor’s race that raised questions as to who was funding her campaign and whether she was running as a spoiler to help ex-state Senator Don Perata’s mayoral bid. In 2011, an Alameda County Superior Court judge dismissed Hodge’s suit in its entirety, ruling that it was baseless. Hodge then appealed that ruling to the First District Court of Appeals, but it voted 3-0 to uphold the lower court’s decision, stating that the judge was correct when he tossed her case.

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