The debate has been raging for a few weeks now. It has been heated, emotional, and personal. Everyone, at least in the blogosphere, wants to know; does Tom Umberg live in the 1st Supervisorial District?
Throughout this debate IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been wondering, if this is really a valid issue, why hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t anyone sued. Heck, they did with Carol Rudat and that was just a City Council seat. This is UmbergÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third election since March of 2004 and the issue seems to be getting a little old.
Well, I think Martin Wisckol over at the OC Register hasÃ‚Â inadvertantlyÃ‚Â revealedÃ‚Â the answer to this burning question. The answer lies in the California Election code, specifically the area that focuses on voter eligibility. The code recognizes that some people may have more than one residence and tries to set out some ground rules as to how to determine where a person can register to vote. For the most part, the law revolves around a simple, yet complicated perspective. Where does the individual intend their primary residence to be? In the mix of defining intent the law sets out a couple of parameters to help things along.
There is Election Code 2031, which says in a nutshell that if you claim a homeowners tax exemption on one of multiple residences that is to be considered your primary residence (domicile), unless you have registered your auto or driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s license at one of your other residences then this presumption is tossed out. Then there are sections 2028 and 2029, which establish that just because your spouse and family live in one residence, does not mean that you live in the same residences.
In the case of Tom Umberg this gets a little more murky, or clear, depending on your point of view. The home in Villa Park was once jointly owned jointly by Tom and Robin Umberg. In his follow up to his article today on the Total Buzz Blog, Wisckol revealed that the Villa Park home is solely owned by Robin Umberg. Further, he found that the UmbergÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s did not take the homeowners property tax credit on the home in Villa Park. I would bet that Tom Umberg has registered his driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s license at the Santa Ana address and that the utilities are also in his name.Ã‚Â He’s an attorney for Gods sake, he knows enough to meet the legal requirements of residency.
With all of these facts out there, its no wonder a lawsuit hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been filed to challenge Tom UmbergÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s residency; there simply isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a case. So there you have it. Enough of the accusations that Tom Umberg is being dishonest about where he lives. You cannot be dishonest if you say you live in Santa Ana and the law agrees that you do.
Tom Umberg lives in Santa Ana, is registered to vote in Santa Ana, and is eligible to run for 1st District Supervisor. Period! End of story.
Can we now start talking about some real issues, like what the candidates will do if elected?