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Legal challenge seeks to invalidate $889M in local bond measures, targets ballot labels

Original post made on Apr 4, 2023

A legal challenge filed in the Superior Court of San Mateo County asserts that the ballot labels for two local school district bonds totaling $889.5 million recently approved by voters misled voters and did not comply with the law.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 11:38 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Apr 4, 2023 at 1:20 pm

Matt is a registered user.

What a waste of time and effort. The bonds passed by large majorities! Now if they'd been squeekers, maybe language could have made a difference. As it is, this just means civil servant bandwidth is getting flushed down the drain.

Oh well.

Posted by Stan
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Apr 4, 2023 at 1:40 pm

Stan is a registered user.

I feel strongly that clearly stating that Bond moneys will not be used for ANY salaries is critically important. When a public entity starts floating bonds to pay salaries or yearly operating expenses or regular maintenance this is just kicking the can down the road and doubling the cost of those expenses over the cost if they are not paid from current income.
Its time that the true cost of bonded indebtedness be revealed in voter information and loans NOT be used in a way that allows public entities to spend beyond their means for regular operating costs.

Posted by Richard Michael
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2023 at 10:48 pm

Richard Michael is a registered user.

There may be only a handful (and that's being generous) of lawyers in California who know anything about the actual law of election contests. As a result, almost all election disputes have been treated by lawyers and courts as civil actions (adversary proceedings). It's fair to say that the public is even less knowledgeable.

The law of election contests is not found in statutes. It's all in court opinions and it's quite uniform among all the 50 states, although procedures vary from state to state.

When mandatory provisions (statutes) of election law that remain mandatory after an election are violated, the law is uncompromising -- the election is overturned. That's what the California Supreme Court ruled in Rideout v. Los Angeles (never overturned) and an entire line of subsequent cases. It wouldn't matter if 100% of the voters voted in favor of a measure. The election would be overturned for the simple reason that, as a result of the violation, it is impossible to determine the will of the voters.

The California Supreme Court has also ruled, in a landmark election law case (Stanson v. Mott), that when the government uses public moneys to put its thumb on the scale to favor one side in an election, its acts undermine our entire system of government. As a result, its acts are unconstitutional. While using public moneys to fund a campaign in favor of a local measure is one way to put its thumb on the scale, the most reliable and most insidious way to accomplish the same result is to write a ballot question that avoids mandatory statutory disclosures while at the same time provides arguments (reasons) to vote yes. It's like the government speaking to the voter while he's casting his vote. It's pernicious.

That's what we've had in California for more than forty years.

Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2023 at 8:02 am

pogo is a registered user.

Some say this is just a technicality (and when is the use of a bond's funds a "technicality?") and that a majority of voters approved it. I would point out that when YOU make even the slightest mistake or oversight - and what is alleged here is hardly an oversight, this ia a MATERIAL misstatement - on your filings, applications or other government documents, they don't just overlook it and say "never mind." No, they make you go to the back of the line, correct them and resubmit them before they will even look at them again. This is an official referendum involving millions of dollars over years, not some application for you to install a new water heater.

So why should these same government officials be exempt from the rules they impose on us mere mortals?

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