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Judge OKs Oak Grove project for homes, park in southeast hills

Original post made on Mar 21, 2008

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch made permanent yesterday his earlier tentative ruling that rejected a citizens' coalition's plea, led by former Councilwoman Kay Ayala, to block the proposed Oak Grove housing and land transfer project in Pleasanton's southeast hills.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 21, 2008, 7:10 AM

Comments (39)

Posted by Bill!, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 8:50 am

Planned progress prevails allowing Pleasanton to continue being the great place it became.

Posted by Ted Torello, a resident of Downtown
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

Now Kay Ayala, Steve Brozosky, and Dan Carl "Rove" can spend more time at the GW Bush Fan Club. Maybe they can whine some more about Hosterman's "trained to kill" bird. What a bunch of right-wing clowns.

Posted by PC, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:29 am

I read today (Web Link) that our city attorney suggested the city be an "active participant in " (translation- pay for) Kay's appeal. Why on God's green earth would the city even consider this? Who does the city attorney answer to, the council who voted 4-1 in favor of Oak Grove, or to an aggressive "the law doesn't apply to me" former city councilperson? Ludicrous.

Council majority and mayor Hosterman, get a grip on this, please! Planned progress requires leadership!

Posted by iwastheretoo, a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:35 am

Maybe because it was the City Attorney who advised the group that they had all they needed for the petition...

The City gave bad advice (bad legal advice) and there is usually a price to pay for that. . .

Posted by JT, a resident of Foothill High School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:08 am

The City Council answers to the citizens of Pleasanton and 5000 of them signed the petition saying they wanted a chance to vote on the project. That is what the referendum was about, the opportunity to vote on it. People would have had every opportunity to learn more about whether it was a good project for our community or not.

Every good faith effort was made by the citizen group, they followed the guidelines and advice of the city attorney. Everything was done the same as previous Pleasanton referendums. Almost every city council person has participated in the same process and done it the same way. They must recognize the city's responsibility in protecting the process of citizen participation which is a part of our Pleasanton culture.

Posted by Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:14 am

Let's build more homes when the ones all ready chewing up open space aren't selling.

Yeah, that's planned progress, all right.

Posted by PC, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:50 am

If you don't like the decisions the council makes, then don't vote for them in November. That's why Ayala is now a former councilperson- she couldn't get enough votes.

I find it interesting that there isn't as much passion for the rule of law as there is for free speech and ballot box planning from some involved here. I guess their "citizen participation" should be above the law?

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

Poster says:

"People would have had every opportunity to learn more about whether it was a good project for our community or not."

Th current plan was the result of four years of a very visible public process and the previous plan goes back to 1991, all the result of well established public processes. When do we stop acting like we the public don't know anything and get on with going forward with decisions made using our well established democratic processes and institutions? Is the purpose of direct democracy (e. g., the referendum process)to force the public to now know things that have been going on at least four years but to which it wasn't paying attention?

Posted by Concerned resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:21 am

The council should not listen to Ayala. If she wants to appeal, go ahead, but she should pay for it herself. As a taxpayer in Pleasanton, I do not want my dollars to support Ayala's cause because I disagree with it. Ayala: appeal if you must, but pay for it from YOUR OWN money - get the people who support you and your cause to give you money, but do not ask or expect the City of Pleasanton to pay for it.

Posted by Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:24 am

FWIW, I didn't vote for Kay. I was actually glad to see her off the counsel. However, it doesn't mean I agree with this decision.

As I've all ready stated, let's build more homes when the ones all ready chewing up open space and creating congestion aren't selling.

Posted by PC, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:35 am

Gatetree, this deal doesn't build any homes, just establishes the lots. It will probably take many, many years before all the homes are actually built. In the meantime, we get to enjoy the park and trails!

Posted by Jim, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

The letter of the law has been bastardized.
The ruling says they violated the "spirit" of the election code 9238(b). That is a way to ignore the letter of the law. Election code was followed, the ordinance was attached as per the instructions from the city attorney.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm

The ruling can be found at:

Web Link

I ask Jim to please point out where in the ruling is he quoting from. I can't find anywhere the word "spirit". Instead I observe the judge using very clear and precise language explaining his rulings.

Jim, point out the page and line to which you are referring. Thanks.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 21, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Ouch. The judge granted Ayala's anti-SLAPP suit on the Lin's Third Cause of Action (the making of false statements), but isn't awarding any costs and fees to her because the third cause is ruled moot.

Posted by Concerned resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I think it is irrelevant whether anyone agrees with Ayala or not, or how anyone feels about this decision (fair/unfair). The point is, Ayala chose to pursue this and she should, alone with her supporters, finance her cause. The rest of us Pleasanton residents/taxpayers should not have to be forced to finance Ayala's efforts, since some of us think that she should not have gathered the signatures in the first place.

She chose to do this, and SHE chose to appeal.... no one else should have to pay for the cost of an appeal SHE chose to pursue.

If the city attorney gave them incorrect advice, then sue him personally if you feel you have a case (and at your own expense), and leave the rest of us out (ie, the City of Pleasanton should NOT get involved in this appeal filed by Ayala)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Here's how I think it goes... The petition materials provided by the City were believed to be acceptable for this referendum. It was done in the same way that past referenda were done. Therefore, this ruling could theoretically put future referenda at risk. That is only if the City were to follow the same flawed process. Obviously future referenda should be done differently based upon the results of this case so I don't agree with the idea that the City should help fund an appeal. The City should remain neutral as it did during this trial and not take sides, even though Ayala and her group have been attending Council meetings and trying to push for the City to help them out. I suggest emailing the Council and let them know your feelings on this, whether you agree or don't.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I see the point that Concerned has made. The whole affair is principally a Kay Ayala generated situation, albeit with the aide of a few close supporters. The rest are people who have been sucked into the maelstorm by principally her representations and leadership. These are her citizen supporters who have followed the flag that she has carried.

Now she attempts to further drag the city and the taxpayers into the mish-mash she created. Hark back to the video of that early November council meeting where she sucked in some members of council into poison pills because she waved "direct democracy" at them (we are going to referend!). Later, she appeared at the early December council meeting with "thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands" of signatures. Of course, only about 4200 are validated and now a court has determined these were gathered under circumstance that was outside of election law requirements.

The appeal is realistically a go-no-where from a case law perspective, in my opinion. The only issue that distinguishes this case from at least two decades of relevant case law is that the Pleasanton ordinance did not "expressly include" the development plan in its text. As far as the purpose and intent of the applicable election code it will be very difficult for an appeals court to say, "oh, because the ordinance was written in a defective manner you guys are off the hook for having to comply with election code and therefore the integrity of the referendum process is suspended in this case". Judge Roesch in his ruling pointed out that compliance with the election code could have been substantially achieved if at least some intelligently-decided portions of the development plan were included. But, this Ayala group is not into that sort of thing, you know, actually looking at what they are doing legally and making sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. It's all about politics and sucking people into their political goals. It's easier to pressure elected representatives to cave in under the pressure you apply at meetings rather than to actually follow law and democratic processes.

Actually, I believe that the average Pleasanton voter does not want to have to know all about the Oak Grove development plan and then have to vote on it up or down. I think a large number of us trust our elected representatives to study and make these decisions to be best in the interest of the larger group. In situations with exceptional circumstances then direct democracy is appropriate and desired by large numbers of voters. But if you fall in that other group who are quick to referend, look out who your leaders are.

Before you jump on my statement about the average Pleasanton voters' desire to vote, pay attention that to qualify for the ballot only 10 percent need to sign the petition. The average of 100 percent of the voters is 50 percent, so you have to poll EVERYBODY to know their preference and acquire 50 percent signatures, which you cannot reasonably do. Therefore, you can't use the referendum signature statistics of 10 percent to refute my claim.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Wait a minute! It is not up to the city attorney to provide free legal guidance to those wishing to overturn a city council decision. And didn't Kay claim to have all of these attorneys that she had consulted?

Kudos to Jeb for finally writing a more balanced and complete article about this issue.

Posted by PC, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:44 am

I know, how about a parcel tax to fund Ayala's appeal!

Posted by Joanne, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2008 at 5:41 pm

The judges decision has to be challenged. Without a challenge, we will not longer be able to have referendums in California. Those collecting signatures had the complete ordinance that they were trying to referend. This is what the City gave them and is also the same ordinance that is in the book of ordinances in City Hall. Saying that the text attached to the signatures is misleading is just plain crazy. I would bet that fewer than 10 people who signed actually looked at the attached ordinance and at most one person actually went through more then a few pages. Even if 500 people who actually read the ordinance (which is probably 498 more than actual), you still have enough signatures to put this on the ballot.

My guess is that if those collecting signatures had the extra information the developers wanted, that the developers would have found other things referenced that was not included (like a copy of the General Plan, the California Subdivision Act, the California Wildlife Act, etc.).

I am actually more disappointed in our Council than anybody else. They told the City Attorney to not say anything at the court hearing, to not defend that the City gave them the complete ordinance. Step back for a moment on this actual development. If there are some people in the community who want to referendum something and they get the complete ordinance from the City, and collect enough signatures, the City should defend their right to collect signatures to put an item on the ballot whether they agree with the project or not. Four out of five members of this Council have collected signatures before for initiatives and referendums. It seems as soon as they get some power by being elected they do not want to allow their decisions to be challenged however they challenged decisions before they were on the Council. It is obvious they are more concerned with their own power than the rights of the people. How sad.

It also seems to me that if the judge thought the "poison pill" was invalid that the whole ordinance should have been thrown out and the vote by the Council made invalid. If the ordinance carried around by signatures collectors was not enough to be valid, then the same document that the Council voted on should be deemed invalid also.

I hope the citizens of Pleasanton realize that this Council took away their right to referendum a decision and all those in office who supported the developer should be voted out. Whether or not you agree with Oak Grove, this Council made a bigger decision in taking away the referendum process, or at least not defending it.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

I really don't understand how Joanne can come to the conclusion that this ruling will somehow stop all referenda in the entire State of California. This case and the ruling have been entirely in line with current precedent and hasn't overturned anything. It would have been novel if the judge ruled in favor of Ayala and THAT would have overturned precedent.

Posted by Concerned resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Joanne: this whole circus was created by Kay Ayala and no one else. She did not consult me, for instance, about whether to collect signatures. She did not consult anyone, other than perhaps her group of supporters, before appealing. Therefore, she alone should pay the cost of all legal fees, including the costly appeal. The council should not have to support her appeal efforts because THEY WERE NOT asked if they wanted to pursue an appeal along with Ayala. Kay Ayala appealed and now she wants us to help pay for the appeal. Ayala and supporters: this is a free country and you are free to do as you wish, just don't expect the public to pay for what you choose to do.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:11 pm

The recent poster attempts to drag the council into the Oak Grove referendum morass and blame them for its outcome, or make them share at least part of the blame for its outcome. The basic fallacy in thinking is to assume that the council was beholden only to the Save Our Hills faction and were not to gauge their subsequent actions to be representative of the larger community, which is not necessarily aligned with this particular faction. The passive position taken by the city attorney was entirely appropriate given that the city did not initiate the referendum activity nor did it administer its execution, and therefore should not allow the resources of the city to be allocated to support the position of this faction in legal actions.

There will be benefit derived from pursuing an appeal to its end point in this situation. An appeals court decision is likely to further provide case law guidance with regard to election code requirements being fulfilled when the ordnance itself fails to "expressly include" the text of the law itself that is being referended! The judge set down some initial guidelines by writing in his judgement that "the failure to include at least some portions of the Development Plan and/or exhibits frustrates the purpose of 9238, which is to insure that members of the electorate are adequately informed so that they can intelligently exercise their rights". Perhaps the appeals court can provide further guidance. So, some intelligently decided portions of the Development Plan would have probably met election law requirements if they were available to petition signers. But don't hold your breath waiting for an appeals court to overturn this ruling.....

And, Ayala and her supporters are the right people to pay for the legal costs so that further case law in this area clarifies the issue for the benefit of all Californians. After all, the issue is their passion and the present circumstance is purely the result of their actions.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:26 pm

I think this is gonna backfire on Ayala and turn public opinion against her.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 22, 2008 at 7:41 pm

what indicators are there that says public opinion is for her? 4200 valid signatures are a small minority of the larger Pleasanton electorate.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 23, 2008 at 3:05 am

Valley Times Newspaper Friday, March 21, 2008 - "Hillside referendum is blocked"

Page A3, Paragraph 3 - "Ayala has maintained that she and the many "Save Pleasanton Hills" supporters carried the ordinance and every exibit mentioned, as directed by the city attorney's office".

Page A3, Paragraph 4 - "Rousch also noted that while his office did give Ayala what they considered to be all necessary documents for the referendum effort, obviously the judge disagreed".

In an earlier edition of the Valley Times(don't remember the date)an article reported Ayala had asked the City Attorney to e-mail the judge stating he had given her group what he (the city attorney) believed to be all the necessary documents to pursue her objective. The City Attorney refused. The article also reported the City Attorney stated in a closed session of a city council meeting he would remain neutral in this case. There was a question as to whether this may have violated the Brown Act but since the matter was not voted on, it was thought to be permissable. Wonder why he would't make the same statement in a public session of a council meeting.

My questions - Could this document fiasco indicate incompetency within the City Attorney's office? Also, if prior referendums to halt development in Pleasanton were successful using the same logic exhibited by the City Attorney's office in this instance, would those developers have legal re-course against the City of Pleasanton. After all, since this referendum was ruled null couldn't all that came prior to it also be null?

Just wondering............

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 23, 2008 at 10:15 am

Jerry, your question regarding the competency level of the City Attorney's office I think is moot. It isn't the legal responsibility of the City Attorney to have the i's dotted and t's crossed for citizen referenda and initiatives. If it were, the City would be open to all manner of lawsuits at taxpayer expense. Note that in this lawsuit the City was named a defendant only for the City Clerk bit, not for the lack of text on the petition.

Posted by Who's on first?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2008 at 10:33 am

The City Attorney represents the people of Pleasanton, not individual citizens. With this in mind, I think it is amazing that the direction was to remain neutral since the council voted 4-1 in favor. The election code is clear on this point. It is the responsibility of the petitioners.

The former councilmember was never a fan of the city attorney, why would she rely on his advice? Doesn't sound smart.

Posted by disgusted, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2008 at 6:12 pm

What I still don't understand is that Kay stood up in front of the Council and said that she had been to 3 attorneys and was going to a fourth. Assuming one of those was the City Attorney what advice did the other 3 attorneys give her or was that just smoke and mirrors?

I can only assume that part of the reason Kay used the City Attorney was to save money. Also, it is my understanding that Kay expected the City to provide her with legal counsel to defend the referendum.

I don't want my tax dollars spent trying to throw out a development approved by the City Council. That makes no sense--the City Council approves something and then the City Attorney works to have it referended. Last time I checked the City Attorney works for the Council and the Council works for the voters of Pleasanton.

Also, she still hasn't addressed who paid for the ads, etc. Maybe if she had followed the rules, formed a Committee, and raised money in an up front manner, some of these issues would have gone away. Council Member McGovern bought three weeks for her friend Kay to get some of these things done when she continued the second reading of Oak Grove.

Its time to move on to more pressing items such as when are we going to have a completed General Plan?

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 23, 2008 at 9:39 pm

In the above article the city attorney is quoted as saying:

"Essentially, with the appeal being filed, it basically keeps everything in a holding pattern in terms of what happens to the referendum petitions and the project," explained City Attorney Michael Roush. "This could take a year or longer to resolve."

In my research I have not found where there is any automatic Stay Of Proceedings upon filing an appeal. It appears that such a stay must be requested from the Superior Court, and if denied, requested of the Supreme Court. Is it that in cases like this one, a land use law case, such stays are nearly always granted when requested?

Anyone know the answer?

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 24, 2008 at 2:24 am

As usual, I'm still confused. If the city attorney stated his office "did give Ayla what they considered all necessary documents for the referundum effort" and Ayala has maintained she and supporters "carried the ordinance and every exibit mentioned, as directed by the city attorney's cffice", whether one is pro/con OG, whether the city attorney "represents the people of Pleasanton", "works for the city council", or whomever, is it un-reasonable to assume the City Attorney of Pleasanton, the person the city relies on for all legal matters and presumably has handled referundums such as this in the past, shouldn't have knowledge of all documents required in matters such as this.

If it isn't his duty to provide such documents, and I have no knowledge one way or the other, why, by his own words, did his office in-fact supply documents. Why wouldn't he simply say "no, find them yourself". If it was his duty and had he provided all that was necessary there wouldn't be a dotted "i's" and crossed "t's" controversy. Why, after providing all his office considered relevant, and after the suit was filed, does he go behind closed doors and state he "would remain neutral" in this case. He's already involved since he provide documents.

IMO, something is strange here and if Ayala(formerly known as "group 2" in another thread :)) has aggresive attorneys, the city/city attorney could be dragged into this mess sooner or later. If it's dragged out over a long period of time, two boxes of popcorn could be required. :)

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:25 am

What is so confusing?

The duty of the city attorney and the city clerk (who I believe reports to the city attorney) is to provide any and all documents requested by any citizen or citizen group. In doing their job they use their best efforts within their knowledge and competency. The purpose for the request may be for information purposes only or may be for the purposes of legal action, either contemplated or presently underway. In this case it was for a referendum petition.

In discharge of this duty the city attorney does not act nor should he/she act as the legal representative of the requester, because he is not empowered to do so. This includes dispensing legal advice to requesters. His duty lies with representation for the city, which by definition includes ALL of the citizens as an aggregate. Therefore, his advice and counsel is directed to the elected council.

Now in the particular case at hand, a city attorney will have general knowledge of election law as it applies to the direct democracy rights in California, specifically initiatives and referenda. Our city attorney demonstrated that he had such general knowledge at the November council meeting when he was asked and he responded with a general answer about all documents of the ordinance must be available for signers.

Now, it is fair to say that city attorneys as a class are not expected to know all nuances of the applicable election code section and its nearly three decades of case law that applies to its execution. That's why you hire your own attorneys who are supposedly expert in this specialty!

Supposedly, Ayala hired three such attorneys! If they did not advise her that the ordinance as written by the city attorney and that she and her petitioners carried lacked sufficiency under election code, why would these same attorneys turn around and blame the city attorney. What would be the basis? Their own incompetency?

This is not hard to understand, so what's confusing?

The central issue in Lin's complaint is that the development plan or, as the judge ruled, relevant portions of it were not carried. The city attorney in this case is getting blame because he wrote an ordinance that approved the development plan but the wording did not incorporate language that "expressly incorporated" the development plan. The development plan was incorporated implicitly, not explicitly. You would have to be brain dead to not know that the development plan was the law being approved. So, not carrying it frustrated the purpose of the election code section. That's what the judge ruled.

The city attorney gave to Ayala and her group what she requested and what he thought she needed. Simple as that.

So, I'm not prepared to rap the city attorney's knuckles because his wording did not "expressly incorporate" the plan, nor that what he gave her would be later judged insufficient. Instead, what about those three attorneys Ayala hired?

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 25, 2008 at 3:56 am

I'm not implying the city attorney has the duty to provide legal representation to the requester, which I don't believe was done in this case by simply supplying ducments, and I'm well aware the city attorney provides legal council to the city council and city departments as needed. Doesn't this mean he/she should have expertise in all aspects of matters related to the functions of his/her office or have knowledge of where to retrieve needed information.

Suppose I walk into the building permits department and request the docments required to build a house. Shouldn't I expect to receive all required documents since this is their area of expertise. I wouldn't expect to receive documents based on "their best efforts within their knowledge and competency". Since we don't build houses using "best efforts", if they're not fully aware of what is required to build a safe house they're not compenent to work in that environment. Consequently, if I walk into the city attorneys office and request documents I would expect the same expertise. We're not talking rocket science here and we're not talking decades of case law. It's a simple referundum.

If the city attorney, the person that wrote the ordinance, should have general knowledge of election law as it applies to referenda and was aware that all documents of the ordinance must be available for signers, why wasn't all the documents given when requested.

Let me be perfectly clear again. I'm not implying the city attorney has the duty to provide legal representation to anyone other than the City of Pleasanton.

One can attempt to spin the aspects of this case in any direction they wish but, in my opinion, there were mistakes made by more than just the persons gathering signatures.

With that said, those with opposing opinions will just have to agree to disagree.

Posted by It's the blame game, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:58 am

It's not a simple referendum. The planning depart is in the "business" of planning. The city attorney's job is certainly more broad than that.

The election law is clear as to whose responsibility it is to acquire all documents. Ms Ayala had paid attorneys to advise her whose specialty was land use law, (or perhaps not).

The judge here ruled that only those ancillary documents that were needed to clarify the ordinance and were referenced in the ordinance needed to be attached not everything but the kitchen sink.

In my mind, I think this is exacerbated by he fact that some petitioners were misleading signators even though the judge ruled that aspect moot. For the most part, this was not a ground swell of people in the neighborhood rising up. this was a manufactured political campaign that backfired.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 25, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Hi Jerry,

I read your response and see your thinking continues to focus on proving culpability on the part of the city attorney while ignoring the "three lawyers" and their complicity.

I thought I'd give it one more crack by simply posting a page from the Lin's brief that focusses on this very issue. Read the underscored text at:

Web Link

If you still feel that somehow there is a legal case against the city attorney, then fine. We'll wait out and see what happens. Meanwhile, those "three attorneys" (the Three Amigos?) are probably laying low.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Jerry, Actually, in the web linked page I failed to underscore the very first line, which states clearly the opposite of your contention. What is being discussed here is old stuff. The judge read these arguments back in January.

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 27, 2008 at 2:13 am


Thanks for the Web Page document.

While I fully understand the signature gathers, according to the permanent ruling, lacked a document, they apparently weren't the only party that made a mistake in this case. Per the document, there were hints of other mistakes made.

Per the document - "Even if the City failed to provide Real Parties copies of the full text of the PUD Ordinance upon request"..............

Per the docmuent - "Accordingly, even if City officials or staff mistakenly told Real Parties that the Referundum Petition was only required to contain the text of the those documents...........

If I'm reading the document correctly, the above quotes hint that the City Attorney's Office failed to provide all the required documents that they, the City Attorney's Office, should have had knowledge of since, also per the document, the City Attorney informed the "Real Parties" at the Nov. 6, 2007 City Council hearing - "you need to attach to the referundum petition the document that is being set aside". If that's the case, then the City Attorney's Office failed in their "areas of expertise". If they did indeed fail in the area of a simple referundum, and that's all it is - a simple referundum - possibly not unlike referundums that have moved through this office in the past, they should at least admit their failure. This is the the office that provides legal counsel to the city government of Pleasanton, where "failed to provide" could possibly cause harm to the city.

If there's a legal case here, I have no idea. Is lack of expertise criminal? IMO, an apparent failure that has caused much grief to some should, at a minimum, leave a mark on his office. IMO, if I were him I just might consider joining the "the Three Amigos" in the bushes. :)

That's all I have to say (probably said too much already). As you said, we'll wait for the next "lookout everybody cause here come da judge"(Stolen from the Great Flip Wilson, "Geraldine"). :)

Posted by Nicole, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 27, 2008 at 8:16 am

The web link is from the Lin's Brief, not the ruling.

Posted by frank, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Mar 27, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Yes, the underlined text is Lin's lawyers addressing the issue that is now being raised here, two plus months later. I entitled the web linked document so as to identify that it is the Lin's brief filed on January 8. If one puts their cursor over the link and reads the URL in the Status Bar at the bottom of their browser one can see this. The point is, if Ayala is going to mount an offense to try to overturn the judge's ruling on the basis that it is the city attorney's fault, her attorneys will have to overcome arguments that have already been presented.

The ordinance as written is very likely sufficient to meet the standards of passing laws approved by legislative bodies like the city council. I doubt that to meet this standard that the text needed to expressly include the development plan, since council had been presented the development plan for its consideration over many meetings. That the exact text failed to meet a standard that citizen groups must meet when asking uninformed citizens to sign a petition is not the responsibility of the city attorney. In fact, this is outside his area of required expertise. The citizen group must hire their own attorney to interpret the relevant law in the view of relevant case law and advise them what must be carried during the petition drive. That's how we citizens learn what to do when the situation is something legally complicated, like mounting a referendum drive. We hire attorneys to advise us. Ayala claims she had three.

Let's wait and see what happens.

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