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Rubin to Seek Council Seat

By Lookout Staff

July 11 – Six years after his last bid for City Council, local activist Jerry Rubin is throwing his hat back into the ring after leading an unsuccessful but highly publicized effort to save the Downtown ficus trees.

Rubin, who is expected to announce his candidacy at a press conference Friday, says he plans to run on a "pro-peace," "pro-trees" and "pro-accountability" platform in the race for four open council seats.

While Rubin has been a regular speaker at council and board meetings for at least a decade, he will bring to the election wider name recognition won during the nearly year-long crusade to save 30 of the 157 ficus trees slated for removal along 2nd and 4th streets.

The failed bid was covered extensively in the local press and even made national headlines. Rubin, who founded Treesavers to fight against the City’s plan to remove the trees, is currently leading an effort to establish a City Tree Commission.

Rubin’s previous council bids have been unpredictable and at times controversial. After running in 2000, he dropped out of the 2002 Jon Louis Mannrace five days before the election, citing his continuing battle with depression and his desire to "show support and unity" for several other candidates.

Two years later, in 2004, he pulled papers but didn’t run. In 2006 he decided not to pull papers.

In the 2000 race, Rubin -- who has been an activist with the Alliance for Survival since 1979 -- made headlines when he tried to use “peace activist” as his official ballot designation.

After a two-year court battle, a federal appeals panel unanimously upheld a U.S. District judge’s dismissal of Rubin's First Amendment suit.

“A ballot is a ballot, not a bumper sticker,” the panel said.

Rubin, who sells bumper stickers on the Third Street Promenade, called the panel's decision "a defeat for free speech and for activism.”

After legally adding "peace activist" as his middle name in 2003, Rubin says he wants to have his name listed officially on the election ballot as Jerry Peace Activist Rubin.

In his 2000 bid, Rubin, who declined any contributions, finished seventh with 4,597 votes.





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