Councilwoman’s Request for Restraining Order Challenged as “Political Stunt” by Recall Group • Long Beach Post

The effort to recall Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce from office has taken another twist as the committee seeking her ouster has filed a letter alleging that the council woman’s recent request for a restraining order against her former chief of staff is nothing more than a political stunt.


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A letter filed January 30 at Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse called Pearce’s request for the restraining order an attempt to “convert the Los Angeles Superior Court into a political tool”. Ian Patton, the campaign manager for the committee, told the Post that the police reports released on the City’s website in a massive document dump show that Pearce is not the victim.

“Her purpose in petitioning the court for a restraining order is to mislead the public and distract from the fact that she is currently subject to an active corruption investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division,” Patton wrote in his letter to Judge Randall Pacheco, the judge that the restraining order request was submitted to. “She intends through this very publicly announced court action to portray herself as a stereotypical victim of domestic abuse of the type she hypocritically purports to champion. The facts paint a very different picture.”


 

The letter included pictures of her former chief of staff Devin Cotter and the injuries he sustained during a June 3 incident on the 710 Freeway as well as selected portions of police reports, both of which were part of the data released by the city in December.

Patton said that while the committee is not party to the restraining order process he hopes that the letter will serve as public record of what the committee thinks is happening.

In a phone interview, Cotter declined to comment on the restraining order specifically but sought to distance himself from the committee as he said he does not support their politics or the recall effort.

“I really miss privacy,” Cotter said. “This is not a political stunt. The only thing political is the recall group trying to insert themselves into a private matter.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to charge Pearce with domestic violence charges in relation to the June 3 incident but it does have a separate investigation underway by its public integrity division into whether any conflicts of interests arose during their relationship.

The councilwoman filed her restraining order request against Cotter last Friday alleging, among other things, that he has flooded her with phone calls, emails and social media messages and had also hinted at releasing “revenge porn” to the media. A judge temporarily granted the order pending a full hearing scheduled for February 9.


 

In an email, Pearce said this was the right step to protect her and her family and that the decision to file the request had taken months of consideration. She asked for privacy on the matter going forward, noting she would not be making any more statements about it.

She called the recall effort a power grab for a seat that she was elected to in 2016.

“I find it disheartening that this group believes they have the legal right to intervene in my personal safety, the safety of my family, and my staff,” Pearce wrote. “The only political stunt is this group’s attempt to reconstruct the facts documented by the police.”

“When you look closer, you see it [the effort to recall Pearce] is not a group of second district residents, it’s a group of local hotels contributing 25K to 50K each. The same hotels that said sexual assault wasn’t happening in their establishments. This is recall is a political stunt to shut women down, silence them and blame them for the abuse others instill. It’s a power grab for the seat, that I was elected to. I have continued to stand up and fight for the values I was elected on, courage, fairness, and equity.”

Pearce’s reference to contributions is likely aimed at the Friends of Long Beach PAC, which is sponsored by the hotel and hospitality industry. As of the end of 2017 it had reached over $180,000 in contributions from multiple hotel and real estate interests. As of the most recent contribution filings posted by the recall group in early January only $5,000 of that money has come from Friends of Long Beach.

Jason Ruiz covers transportation for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or 951-310-1772.

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