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County counsel to rule on Osti candidacy

Patrick McCartney

A last-minute misunderstanding between South Lake Tahoe Councilwoman Margo Osti and El Dorado County’s registrar of voters briefly jeopardized Osti’s plan to run for county supervisor.

On Monday, El Dorado County Counsel Louis B. Green ruled that the filing period for county offices without an incumbent is extended for five days beyond the usual March 6 filing date. Now, Green must decide whether filing papers Osti submitted by fax at the last minute Friday are acceptable, or whether she must file the original in person by Wednesday.

“It created some temporary havoc,” Osti said of the uncertainty that prompted Registrar of Voters Michele McIntyre to call Osti on Friday and inform her she needed to file by the end of day. With the ruling, Osti will now square off with South Lake Tahoe Police Chief David Solaro for the seat held by John Upton, who chose not to seek another term.

McIntyre acknowledged that, until last Friday, she believed that Osti had until Wednesday to file for the District 5 supervisorial seat, but then realized county races might not include an extension period.

Filing periods for state offices are extended when the incumbent does not seek re-election. In the supervisorial race, incumbent John Upton chose not to seek another term.

On Friday afternoon, McIntyre notified Osti that she would have to file by the end of the day under the county’s rules. At 4:30 p.m., unable to deliver her campaign filing in person, Osti faxed the documents to the elections office.

“It was a question that never came up and was never answered,” McIntyre said about the confusion over the correct filing date. “I am very sorry she was put in this awkward position.”

For her part, Osti said McIntyre informed her on three separate occasions that she would have until March 11 to file for the open seat.

“It was a simple matter,” Osti said. “The (extension law) applies at the local level, so I don’t know why the county would be any different.”

Unlike the county’s nonpartisan races, where most of the incumbents are running unopposed, South Tahoe’s state assembly and federal congressional races will be contested.

In the 4th Assembly District, incumbent Assemblyman Thomas “Rico” Oller will face a challenge from fellow Republican Ray Nutting, an El Dorado supervisor, in the June primary. The winner will face off against Mark Norberg, a Democrat, and Robert Mulvany, a Libertarian, in the fall general election.

While Oller is predicting an easy victory in his campaign for a second term, El Dorado Democratic Central Committee chair Pat Frega said Nutting’s challenge of Oller could open the door for Norberg in a race that is usually conceded to the Republican candidate.

“Depending on how it plays out, we may be able to steal this seat,” Frega said. “If they beat each other up, the winner could come out of the primary a damaged candidate.”

In the race for the 4th Congressional District seat, Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, has a free ride in the Republican primary in his attempt for a fifth term.

He will be challenged by a new candidate from the Democratic Party, after easily besting businesswoman Katie Hirning in two straight elections. This year, David Shapiro of Garden Valley will contest the seat that Republicans have the edge in registration.

Now retired, Shapiro has been a teacher, community activist and insurance consultant for unions. He has announced he will turn down individual campaign contributions, relying on group donations for his financing.

Also running in the 4th Congressional District race is Daniel Winterrowd, a Libertarian.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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