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October 25, 2011 > Judge grants restraining order for Calif. lawmaker

Judge grants restraining order for Calif. lawmaker

By Juliet Williams, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Oct 21 - A Tehama County judge on Friday granted a restraining order sought by Republican Assemblyman Jim Nielsen against a constituent who has been trying to show that the Northern California lawmaker does not live in the district he represents.

The injunction issued by Superior Court Judge Richard Schueler prohibits Donald Bird from coming on the lawmaker's property in Gerber, a small town between Redding and Chico. Bird, 76, also cannot attempt a citizen's arrest on Nielsen for at least three years.

Court documents say Bird sent Nielsen handwritten warnings, and he acknowledges driving by Nielsen's home 108 times over a 2 1/2-year period. The notes, which were attached to newspaper stories, included messages such as ``Hi Jimmy we are getting close. We will get you sir, Jimmy you will pay the price,'' according to the court documents.

Nielsen said he was afraid the threats could escalate to violence against him or his family.

Bird, a former U.S. Marine, said he has never gone onto Nielsen's property and would abide by the ruling. He said Friday's order gives him new energy to try to prove his claim that Nielsen actually lives in Woodland, about 20 miles from the state capital.

The California Constitution says a person can serve as a member of the state Legislature only if they have lived in the legislative district for at least one year and been a California resident for the preceding three years, but the requirement has not always been strictly enforced.

Nielsen's chief of staff, David Reade, said Nielsen lives in Gerber.

``That's where their home is; it's where it always has been,'' Reade said. ``At every point along the way that Mr. Bird has made his false accusation and attempted to adjudicate it, he has been rebuffed by the court.''

Bird, a former Marine and contractor who lives in Rancho Tehama, has been making his claim since before Nielsen's election to the Assembly in 2008.

``I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about what I'm doing at all because I'm right,'' Bird said. ``I'm not doing this as a personal thing or a political thing. I am a registered Republican just as he is. But the guy lied to get into office.''

Bird said the judge also granted his request that he continue to be allowed to own firearms and that he be allowed to picket events at which Nielsen appears.

A Tehama County judge also previously awarded Nielsen $7,500 in attorney's fees, but he has agreed not to seek the money if Bird complies with Friday's order.

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