As gubernatorial hopefuls Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown sparred off on stage at Tuesday night’s debate, another candidate for California’s top post was arrested for trying to enter the debate using another person’s ticket, San Rafael police said.
Oakland resident and Green Party candidate Laura Wells, 62, attempted to gain access to Dominican University’s Angelico Hall at 5:20 p.m. when she presented a ticket that police said was not issued to her.
For security reasons, tickets to the event were numbered, coded, and checked by campus security before ticket holders were admitted to the debate hall.
Police said Wells refused to cooperate with campus security when they requested she surrender the ticket.
Wells became argumentative and refused to leave the area, police said, even after she was warned that if she persisted she would be subject to a citizen’s arrest because she was on private property.
A security officer placed Wells under citizen’s arrest, and she was subsequently taken into custody by San Rafael police officers and escorted from the grounds.
Wells was cited and released for trespassing.
According to a statement released by the Green Party of California, she will be required to appear in court on Election Day.
“Republicans and Democrats will go to any lengths, even arresting candidates, to keep the truth from California voters,” Wells said in the statement. “There are solutions, but voters aren’t being allowed to here (sic) from independent candidates.”
In 2002, as a Green Party candidate for state controller, Wells polled more than 400,000 votes.
Protesters associated with the Green Party of California who were upset that Wells was excluded from the debate picketed the event by wearing green gags covering their mouths.
“The debate is a fraud. Limiting it to Whitman and Brown is not just anti-green, it is anti-democratic and anti-republican,” Wells said.
Patricia Decker, Bay City News