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Former Commerce Mayor Leonard Mendoza Admits Ballot Designation Was False

September 6, 2022

By Brian Hews

In order to avoid paying thousands in attorneys fees, former Commerce Mayor Leonard Mendoza has conceded his false ballot designation as “Water Advocate” giving Central Basin District 3 incumbent and Board President Art Chacon a victory.

After his humiliating loss in the Commerce City Council election, Mendoza decided to file and run against  Chacon in November 2022; Mendoza likely spurred on by Chacon’s longtime enemy on the board Leticia Vasquez-Wilson and her husband Ron Wilson.

All candidates must file a Ballot Designation Worksheet with the California Secretary of State when running for any elected office.

In the BDW is a description of the candidate’s current vocation that will be printed in the voter pamphlet; the description could be their current job, the title of their elected office, whether they are an incumbent, etc.

Mendoza, who is a painter employed by L.A Sanitation and works at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant described himself as a “Water Advocate,” writing, “I work at the Hyperion Reclamation Water Plant in El Segundo. I spent [sic] my free time advocating of [sic] the importance of recyclin [sic] our water.”



But Mendoza has never advocated for water and worked as a contract painter since 2019; before that he worked as a lead painter for the city of Commerce and was fired for “systematic abuse of his employees.”

Chacon, knowing Mendoza was lying on the form, hired attorney Anthony Willoughby to file an injunction on Mendoza to remove the ballot designation.

Days later, Mendoza got a call from L.A. County Counsel, who was using information from Willoughby’s brief, questioning him on the ballot designation description.

They told Mendoza that, given the evidence, he was not a Water Advocate and told him if he did not change the designation, he would lose the case and be liable for thousands in attorney’s fees.

At that point Mendoza basically admitted he was lying and agreed to change the designation; that action rendered the court case “moot.”


Court document rendering Mendoza’s case moot.


“He basically surrendered before the battle because of his losing position, he ran like the pussy he is” said Willoughby, “the issue was settled prior to the case so the judge will not issue a ruling but render the case moot.”

In a strange coincidence, in June 2012, Leticia Vasquez-Wilson described herself as a Water Advocate-at the time she was a professor-in her run against Ed Vasquez, but Ed Vasquez did not file an injunction against her and lost in a special election that garnered a 15% turnout.



In 2016 former Lynwood Councilwoman Maria Santillan-Beas filed to run against Vasquez Santillan-Beas, designating herself as a Water Advocate.

Ignoring the hypocrisy,  Vasquez-Wilson filed a lawsuit, likely using California Elections Code 13107, arguing Santillan-Beas was not a water advocate; the lawsuit was successful, with Vasquez winning a motion for attorney’s fees, ruthlessly taking $30,000 from Santillan-Beas.

After discovering Mendoza was running, HMG CN sent several emails, copying HMG-CN’s attorney Scott Talkov in the emails, asking both Wilson’s if they were behind Mendoza campaign; neither responded.

This is not the first time Mendoza has lied to gain an advantage in an election.

HMG-CN exclusively reported that proved Mendoza had ten people, not including him and his wife, registered to vote in Commerce using his 800-square-foot home as an address.

The article resulted in the Norwalk Registrar/Recorder referring Mendoza to authorities for an investigation into voter fraud.

Registrar Refers Councilman Mendoza to District Attorney