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HA_Blakeslee.JPGSam Blakeslee has served three terms in the Assembly, including nearly eight months as Republican leader.

But that's not the job description he'd like voters in the 15th Senate District special election to see. The San Luis Obispo Republican has requested that "Independent Business Owner" be used as his three-word ballot designation.

Blakeslee's campaign said it planned to highlight his legislative record on the campaign trail and was hoping to show voters a different side of the elected official.

That side would be his role as president of financial planning firm Blakeslee & Blakeslee. According to the statement of economic interest he filed this year, Blakeslee and his wife, a broker, both reported more than $100,000 in income from the firm.

"The vast majority of voters in the district obviously already know he's a legislator; they don't necessarily know he's a business owner," said Blakeslee campaign consultant Jim Nygren. "It just puts a different aspect of his life in front of voters."

Submitting a ballot designation that highlights "diversity and breadth of experience in their occupation," as one consultant put it, is not an unusual move for state legislators running for office. For Alert readers who need a refresher, the three-word job descriptions are supposed to reflect the candidate's "principal" occupation -- a job that takes "substantial involvement of time and effort" or a vocation they are currently licensed to practice.

The ballot designation submitted by Blakeslee's main rival, former Democratic Assemblyman John Laird, has also raised questions. Laird calls himself an "educator," a perennial favorite among Democrats running for elected office. To justify that job, he cites his recent hire as a lecturer in UC Santa Cruz's Department of Environmental Studies.

A Republican voter in the district challenged the ballot designation in Sacramento Superior Court, citing that Laird's own statement of economic interest lists his occupations as consultants for the Tides Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The suit was thrown out because the complainants did not successfully serve Laird with the lawsuit before last week's hearing date.

Laird's campaign team said he submitted "educator" because his main occupational focus was teaching an upper-division course called "Environmental Studies/State Policy" during the last academic year and pointed out that, as compensation from a public agency, his $7,503 teaching salary wouldn't be subject to SEI disclosure.

Laird said in an e-mailed statement that the suit was a "page straight out of Sacramento Alice in Wonderland" and called out Blakeslee for shying away from his Sacramento duties.

"This latest chapter is pretty ironic since my opponent has chosen 'Independent Business Owner' as his ballot designation, despite the fact that at this moment he is a state legislator who led his party during the long budget standoff last summer," Laird said in the e-mail.

The June 22 special primary election date is still technically up in the air, with Monterey County officials subject to a court order not to send out absentee ballots or prepare to hold the election pending a lawsuit challenging the election date.

Arguments in that suit will be heard in federal court tomorrow in San Jose.

CalPERS: The CalPERS Board of Administration meets at 9:30 today to discuss taking disciplinary action against board member Priya Mathur. The Fair Political Practices Commission fined Mathur last week for the third time in four years for missing the deadline on filing her conflict-of-interest statement.

HEARING: The Assembly Human Services Committee meets at 10 a.m. for a hearing on the state of hunger in California. Representatives from food banks and community groups across the state are scheduled to testify.

MADAM SCIENTIST: Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is being honored with a lab coat at the California Association of Professional Scientists' State Scientist Day. Hancock carried this year's resolution declaring May 19 the day to honor state scientists. Representatives from various state agencies will be hosting wacky experiments and other exhibits on the Capitol's west steps from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

GOV2010: Team Whitman is showcasing the Poizner "flippers" -- the GOP legislators who have switched their endorsements from Steve Poizner to Meg Whitman. They'll be holding a presser at 11 a.m. at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association office at 921 - 11th St.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo. Sacramento Bee file photo, Hector Amezcua, May 7, 2009.


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