News

Council candidate Unangst's ballot designation challenged

State law says he can't call himself a "retired lieutenant colonel"

A Mountain View City Council candidate is going to have to change his ballot designation after being challenged over his use of the title "retired lieutenant colonel" on the November ballot.

The city clerk upheld the challenge mounted by John Schaeffer after "investigation and extensive research."

"Mr. Unangst will have to choose another ballot designation or not have one at all," said City Clerk Lorrie Brewer in an email.

The challenge is not because there's anything false about Unangst's story of leading troops in Vietnam and being honored with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

"That was my rank at the time of my retirement from the military in 1996 after 10 years of active duty and 18 years in the (Army) reserves," Unangst explained in an email. "Evidently, state law requires a retired candidate to use their most recent employment on a ballot."

The law means that Unangst now plans to call himself a "retired aerospace engineer" as he retired from Lockeed Martin in 2011.

"I have no idea who John Schaeffer is, where he lives, or what motivated him to file this challenge," said Unangst.

Shaeffer tipped the Voice to the issue, later describing himself as "just a concerned watchdog who knows the election has high stakes. We have nine great candidates and it's important they all follow the rules."

Unangst said the state law seems unfair. He points to a section of federal law that seems contradictory: "A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade."

City Attorney Jannie Quinn was not available for comment by press time about her analysis of state and federal laws. City spokesperson Shonda Ranson confirmed that a state law was preventing Unangst's chosen ballot designation.

"The successful challenge sets a horrible precedent for all retired veterans in California," Unangst said. "If this is the case, then any veteran who retires from the military, whether active or reserve, and then works in another occupation cannot then use their military rank on a ballot in California."

"While my first inclination is to fight back against what I see as an unfair denial of my rights as a retired military officer and the setting of a very bad precedent, I have to maintain focus on the voters and the unprecedented problems facing the city." Unangst said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

I agree, this state law seems overly restrictive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Retired...
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Well, with the story of the Purple Heart, we know he was a great man for our country.

Now,using retired aerospace engineer, we will also understand that he was also a "rocket scientist".

I think the law is odd, to say the least. But, now we will hear about 2 sides of this man.

To Unangst: I don't think it will hurt you. Good luck in the race!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Maher is a registered user.

Greg: The claimed designation of "retired Lt Col" is inaccurate vav "most recent job". It's in the guidelines.

IF this candidate cannot even read/understand the guidelines for listing his candidacy, or willingly follow those guidelines... then he cannot have my vote. His attempt to "spin" the guidelines and his arrogant reactions to the challenge means that for me, he is a lost cause.

A lie is a lie.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Congrats to this brave (former) warrior...He can lead, he can decide, he is energenic and gets my vote.

I would assume that he can list his military rank and service in his statement and mailers.

Go for it Col.

George (four years enlisted man of many years ago. I salute you Sir.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ES
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Did anyone else find it strange that everyone identified in the article had a first and last name except for Greg Unangst?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LikeToWatch
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm

LikeToWatch is a registered user.

Why do people focus on small things all the time?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

So Lieutenant Colonel Unangst bases a large part of his campaign on being a decorated and retired member of the United States military (for which he should be commended), and not much else?

You would think that he would want to emphasize his connections to the community, and why those connections would make him the right candidate for the job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by It's all about Unangst
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Unangst will make a great politician. He is already practicing by trying to circumvent clearly written laws that don't seem fair to "him".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Milk Pail - Steve Rasmussen
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

*** Now until 8 PM *** August 29th
"Meet and Greet" Mountain View City Council Candidates over the next few weeks at the Milk Pail.
Today between 5 and 8 pm Greg Unangst will be at our "Campaign Table" answering your questions about what he can do for you, the Mountain View Voter!

( a comment from Steve. As the comments to this article suggest, the community has many diverse opinions on many diverse issues. Come talk with Greg Unangst this evening and ASK HIM DIRECTLY why he values his declaration that he is a "retired lieutenant colonel". I hope John Schaeffer, someone who hasn't yet met Candidate Unangst, can find time to speak directly with Greg Unangst this evening! This is how the public can become informed about our candidates and what is important to them!)

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duke
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Being misleading and devious is not a good way to begin the campaign to win a position of trust, respect and responsibility.
Read the rules and abide by them or when caught your credability suffers.
Do not just adhere to the rules you believe in.
If the rules need to be changed there are proper ways to do that.
Mr. Unangst may have many good qualities but I would now look carefully at his statements.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVresident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:42 pm

As is pointed out in the article Federal law allows retired service members to say as such. Federal law has precedence in this case, I believe. I'm just glad that someone who fought communists in Vietnam is running for city council to fight the same kind of anti-business socialist/communists or big labor sycophants that we've had to deal with on the council in the past.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by U.B. Red-ick-you-lus
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Lieutenant Colonel Greg Unangst, thank you for serving the country. It was our country back then.

Since
"state law requires a retired candidate to use their most recent employment on a ballot"

and "federal law states "A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade."

I do not see where state law precludes you from using "retired lieutenant colonel" only that you are required to use "retired aerospace engineer"

So your title should read "Retired Army Reserve Lieuenant Colenel Greg Unangst, Retired Aerospace Enginner.

It is interesting that someone other than the candidate, should get to choose your title, and that your title should be dictated as your most recent occupation, rather than a title that most characterizes values they stand for.

If a Candidate had never held a job....
If a Candidate was recently released from prison....


If Bill Clinton ran for Council, and his most recent employment was, he received a free dinner for unplugging the mens room toilet......

It is good Greg gets dipped in a fresh coat of City of Mountain View, as he heads for Council....





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

Thank you, Steve, for hosting our city's candidates. Another reason we should all stand behind our small, home-grown businesses to be sure they can survive here. They participate in our community. I hope many turned out tonight to find out who Greg Unangst really is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by incognito
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:01 pm

@Es, wow that's an astute observation! My guess is it's an oversight on the part of the reporter and editor, and not intentional.

I also do not think that Greg Unangst is in any way trying to manipulate the rules, as the state and federal rules contradict each other. How a candidate chooses to define him or herself has long been a topic of discussion. How can any of us be summarized by a single job title?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

I too served as a Lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War and so i appreciate Mr.Unangst's commitment to "Duty, Honor, Country."

However, the Vietnam War is in the past and Mountain View needs leaders who live in the present and have plans to improve our future. Mountain View, south of 101, is already the most densely populated city in Santa Clara County. Adding high-density housing in great numbers will only exacerbate that condition. I am concerned that traffic, parking, and quality of life will suffer if Mr., Unangst is elected.

I am supporting the two candidates who appreciate our neighborhoods and have creative solutions to improve the status of the middle class rather than build, build, build! These two are Lisa Matichak and Mercedes Salem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

Is there any law that says he cannot use both?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

"So Lieutenant Colonel Unangst bases a large part of his campaign on being a decorated and retired member of the United States military"

says the person with the name "UC Davis Grad". Hilarious and embarrassing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm

@Steve: Anything INTELLIGENT you would like to offer here? Or is just more of your middle-school snark?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Anyone who has ever run a large community organization knows that 1% of the members cause 99% of your aggravation. People like John Schaeffer seem to come out of the woodwork, drop their little grenade then fade away only to return later with some other minor issue.



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