• Citizens’ Initiative proponents file writ of mandate against City

    Costs mounting for strapped Pacific Grove

    In an attempt to force the City to either enact the citizens’ initiative of 2013 or to put it on the next ballot, a writ of mandate has been filed in Monterey County Superior Court by Sally Aberg, Frances Grate and Daniel Davis. The are the leading proponents of the citizens’ initiative.

    The City’s consulting attorney, Michael G. Colantuono, had indicated that the matter could be submitted for judicial review in plenty of time to do either of the two actions if the decision indicated they were legal. The attorney hired by the citizens’ group, Margaret Thum of Pebble Beach, stated that, under Monterey County Elections Code, the City has no such choice.

    “This has been tested time and time again,” said City Manager Tom Frutchey, pointing out that citizens have the right to declaratory relief and the City should have the same right. Frutchey is satisfied that the decision about the writ of mandate will satisfy the City’s request for declaratory relief. “This is the opportunity to ask the judge to rule right away on whether this is a permissible measure,” he said.

    On Fri., May 17, Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills ruled that the citizens’ initiative of 2010 and subsequently Measure R, which attempted to change the City’s charter to make the citizens’ initiative legal, were both unconstitutional. The writ of mandate was filed on May 21, 2013.

    “The City looks forward to a quick review of the legality of the Citizen’s Initiative, including whether an election is required. The City shall seek guidance from the Superior Court as to whether the proposed election measure is constitutional,” said City Attorney David C. Laredo. “It is unfortunate that it took more than three years to determine that the 2010 election petition was fatally flawed. This action will shorten that timeline.”

    Not including staff time spent on the question over the months and years, the City has spent more than $100,000 in attorneys’ fees and the bill is rising.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 24, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News

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