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Tentative Ruling by Judge Declares Referendum Illegal

Original post made by frank, Pleasanton Heights, on Feb 21, 2008

The following is an excerpt that appeared this morning on the Superior Court website:

"This Tentative Ruling is issued by Judge Frank Roesch The Petition of Jennifer Lin and Frederic Lin ("Petitioners") For Writ of Mandate And Verified Complaint For Declaratory Relief (the "Petition"), is GRANTED IN PART, as set forth below. The Petition is GRANTED as to the First Cause of Action, which alleges non compliance with California Elections Code section 9238(b)'s requirement that the "full text" of any ordinance sought to be repealed by referendum petition be attached to the referendum petition (the "RP") itself."

The judge denied Lin's Second and Third Cause of Action, but these are secondary. The referendum cannot go forward since it is non-compliant with Election Code.

The tentative ruling further states:

"The requirements of section 9238(b) are construed strictly, and when in doubt, ambiguities should be resolved with an eye to protecting the electorate from confusing or misleading information and to guarantee the integrity of the electoral process. (Hebard v. Bybee, 65 Cal. App. 4th 1331, 1344 (1988). See also v. Reyes, 69 Cal. App. 4th 93 (1998) ("substantial compliance" doctrine also applied strictly).) There is no exception for voluminous ordinances. (Mervyn's, 69 Cal. App. 4th 93.)"

Comments (16)

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Go read the tentative rulings here:

Web Link

The Third Cause of Action in Lin's complaint regarded the charge of "false and misleading statements", but the judge considered the matter to be protected core political speech, so the judge is finding in favor of Ayala's Demurrer (which is a legal way of countering by saying "so what if it's true?")


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I wonder if Ayala will appeal or will this be the end of the drama? I think a lot of people will be angry about this, but it seems to me like Ayala's group really dropped the ball. Groups can't petition for signatures to referend an ordinance that makes reference to "plan X" without also carrying around the text of "plan X". Or in computer programming parlance; you have to dereference the variable.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 21, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Is it as Willie Nelson sang - "turn out the lights, the party's over, all good things come to an end".

Anyone think we'll see a petition if the city council doesn't take some action that effects the remaining south hills or if they're not included in the General Plan Review. From listening/reading during the recent debates, seems if prior council's, or someone, hadn't dropped the ball we wouldn't be going through this now, or at least not to this extent.

Just for my info - did the city attorney have any obligation to advise/provide guidance as to what was required before signatures could be obtained or was the signature gathers responsible for "knowing the rules".


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Posted by responsible citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2008 at 6:16 am

It is incumbent on the signature gatherer's to know the rules. It's in the election code.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2008 at 11:29 am

Jerry, there's the ridgeline initiative still. Is that what you're referring to? I think the City is trying to put together their own language regarding the ridgelines before the initiative gets to ballot, no? Frankly, I'd prefer a researched ordinance "written by committee" related to the ridgelines than some single-author initiative. The initiative doesn't take visual differences in ridgelines into consideration. The second problem I have is the only public participation with an initiative is that of voting on it. You can't provide public hearing comment on it like you could on a proposed ordinance.

Regarding the city attorney's perceived obligation, it seems really wrong to try to put blame on him. Doing so reminds me of this analogy: "I took the drugs because the dealer gave them to me."


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Posted by Obvious
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm

This ruling would seem to be pretty easy to predict, as the oppostion to this develpment has only provided one sided, partial and in most instances misleading information about the project IMO.

The property owners have worked very hard at thier own expense to come up with a plan for good development.

Now the real question would seem. Is there a market for 50 plus $3M (probably low) to $10M homes in Pleasanton? Should tell us a lot about the economy ;-) My guess is that it will be at least a while before anyone breaks ground.......


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Well, probably impossible at the moment to get 100% financing on a $3 mil. home...

Hey, if the Sharks build their ice rink here, the players could live in Oak Grove instead of Blackhawk.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Thanks Stacey, I should have said "initiative" instead of "petition".

Wasn't sure but I thought something was still roaming around out there concerning the hills/ridge lines.

Wasn't attempting to lay anything in the city attorney's lap. Just thought something about the city attorney "being lazy", or something to that effect, was said in another thread related to this case (to lazy to go back through all the threads).


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 25, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Voters should remember the people who drafted this initiative at the next counsel election. This whole group is not as smart as they think they are-obviously. What an embarassement.


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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 27, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Bill, what specifically are you pronouncing an embarrassment?


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Posted by stopeverything
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 28, 2008 at 11:41 am

Stop Staples Ranch development "we can get a better deal"! Oh wait we already have an MOA with Alameda County in which the land gets annexed to Pleasanton, we get the tax base and get a quality development as well. "But we can do better"!

Pleasanton has no leverage with Alameda County, and Dublin and Livermore will take almost any deal handed them that will land them this tax base. You can't "take your ball and go home" if the ball dosen't belong to you!

Oak Grove, ~500 acres of open space/parkland for free!, in return for the developer builing 51 homes. "But wait, we can do better". Sorry land owner, we don't want development where we can see your houses on _this_ particular ridgeline! "But I've spent 4 years and alot of money to come up with a win/win plan" NIMBY.... Sorry I was too busy or didn't care enough to attend the planning meetings where ample input/objection could have been given! Wait a minute, why are we allowing someone from Taiwan to build in Pleasanton?

Hopefully you get my drift. Pleasanton is starting to make Berkeley look good ;-)


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Posted by Bee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

To Stopeverything:
But we DID care enough to attend the planning meetings and give 'ample input/objection!' In addition, some of us sent numerous emails carefully detailing specific concerns and issues with this plan.
So don't assume all of us are coming to the party a day late and a dollar short - they heard all of our concerns, they just chose to completely ignore them.
All I got in response to 5 different email messages was an automated response 'thanking me for my input.'


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 28, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Bee,

What kind of response would you expect from your email? A substantive discussion of the issues? An email thanking you for your response is not automated, it's sent by the person manually and is a whole lot more appropriate than no response at all...


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Posted by law abiding citizen
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Bee, were your issues brought up and ignored, or were they brought up and handled in a manner you didn't agree with? What were your objections/concerns, if I may ask?


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Posted by Tired of the whiners
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 2, 2008 at 7:50 am

Poor, poor Bee....

Sorry the responsible folks in town decided that just because YOU didn't want Oak Grove, it shouldn't be built.

Whatever else you try and disguise it with, the bottom line is that you are selfish. You do not care about the benefits to the entire town, you do not want to deal with whatever it is you think the impact will be on YOU.

And now you are mad because the Council didn't kowtow to you. like it did when that idiot Ayala was around. Remember your Champion Kay saying at the first meeting Oak Grove was discussed: "Why in my day on this Council we squashed any attempt to develop..." Weel thank goodness she is off the Council now, and pray that she doesn't get reelected to anything or her little cronyism just might win out.

Bee, the reaility is that you live in this town because of its amenities, noen of which we would have if selfish people like you had ruled the day in the past. Now that you got yours you want to rob the rest of the future.

Shame on you.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tired of the whiners
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Mar 2, 2008 at 7:52 am

Poor, poor Bee....

Sorry the responsible folks in town decided that just because YOU didn't want Oak Grove, it shouldn't be built.

Whatever else you try and disguise it with, the bottom line is that you are selfish. You do not care about the benefits to the entire town, you just do not want to deal with whatever it is you think the impact will be on YOU.

And now you are mad because the Council didn't kowtow to you. like it did when that idiot Ayala was around. Remember your Champion Kay saying at the first meeting Oak Grove was discussed: "Why in my day on this Council we squashed any attempt to develop..." Don't you wish she was still in charge so you could work out some shady back room deal where she promises no builder will ever build anything as long as she gets a microphone in front of her face at council meetings? Well thank goodness she is off the Council now, and pray that she doesn't get reelected to anything or her little cronyism just might win out.

Bee, the reaility is that you live in this town because of its amenities, noen of which we would have if selfish people like you had ruled the day in the past. Now that you got yours you want to rob the rest of the future.

Shame on you.




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