Assemblyman Jim Nielsen has obtained a restraining order against a constituent who has been on a crusade to prove that the veteran politician does not live in his own district.
The order was filed on Aug. 29 in Tehama County Superior Court by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, which operates as the attorney for legislators in such cases. It names Corning resident Don Bird, 76. A hearing has been set for Sept. 12 in Red Bluff. The Legislative Counsel does not comment on pending legal matters.
Bird, who is also a Republican, has been on a years-long quest to prove that Nielsen, R-Biggs, has been committing election fraud by lying about his address. He appeared to take the order in stride, and said he would obey it to the letter.
“I’m going to thank Mr. Nielsen for sending this restraining order because now I have a soapbox,” Bird said.
The order states that Bird has to stay at least 20 yards away from Nielsen and his wife, and 100 yards from their home and vehicle. It also denies Bird the right to keep a firearm as long as it is in effect. In the order, Nielsen also states that he doesn’t own any guns — perhaps putting to rest the speculation that Nielsen was one of the four Assemblymembers who sought the right to bring a firearm into the Capitol for self-protection earlier this year.
Bird is the most vocal of a small group of conservative activists in the area who have long claimed that Nielsen does not live in the home where he claims to live, which would make him ineligible to occupy the 2nd Assembly District seat he now holds. He and others have contended that the Gerber home where Nielsen claims to reside is occupied by an unrelated woman, and that Nielsen lives with his wife in another home in Woodland, about 100 miles to the south.
Both the attorney general’s office and the Tehama County District Attorney’s office say they have looked into the allegations over the years and found them untrue.
According to the order, Bird has been harassing Nielsen by mail since 2008.
“Bird has repeatedly threatened to physically enact a ‘citizen’s arrest’ on Assembly Member Nielsen at a public event, handcuff him and take him to jail,” the order said. It goes on to state that Nielsen “needs to be able to make public appearances in his district without fear of physical arrest and handcuffing by Bird,” and says, “Bird has kept Assembly Member Nielsen’s personal residence under surveillance for several years.”