In May 2012, the Associated Students at Cal State University sponsored a congressional debate on campus, for candidates running in the 30th district. However, the Association only invited four of the seven ballot-listed candidates to participate. It invited the two incumbent Congressmen, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman. It also invited two Republicans candidates, Mark Reed and Susan Shelley. But it did not invite the only minor party candidate, Professor Michael Powelson, a member of the Green Party. Nor did it invite Democrat Vince Gilmore nor Republican Navraj Singh.
At the time the Association said it was only inviting the four candidates whom, it thought, had a realistic chance to place first or second and thus qualify to be on the November ballot. Now Graduate Student Ankur Patel, a Green, has sued the Association in small claims court. The hearing is January 30, Wednesday, at 1 p.m., in the Chatsworth Courthouse, 9425 Penfield Avenue, Los Angeles. Patel, as a student, is forced to be a member of the Association and to pay $82 dues each semester. Technically the lawsuit asks that the Association refund his dues; such a claim is necessary in order to have the ability to use small claims court. The real goal is to pressure the Association into never again hosting a debate without inviting all ballot-listed candidates. UPDATE: here is a newspaper story about the case.