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Judge rules in favor of Measure A opponents

City says ruling doesn’t mean ballot argument is true
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Placer County Superior Court ruled Tuesday that the opponents of Measure A do not need to make amendments to their ballot argument, as challenged by City Clerk Joe Labrie. Measure A is a proposal that will be put before voters in June to make Auburn a charter city. Proponents of the charter city say it will offer more local control, while opponents argue the costs associated with becoming a charter and lack of adequate review are reasons to vote against the measure. Judge Colleen M. Nichols said aside from the fact that the city clerk’s petition was filed late, it still would have been denied based on the fact ballot arguments are political speech protected by the First Amendment and that the situation demands a much heavier burden of proof than civil cases. Labrie authorized City Attorney Michael Colantuono to file a lawsuit in his named based upon the claim that the authors of the ballot argument against Measure A — James Earp, Hank Gonzales and the California Alliance For Jobs — included false or misleading statements in the ballot argument and rebuttal. Todd Stenhouse, spokesperson for Preserve Auburn-No on Measure A, said the ruling validated the fact that the lawsuit was frivolous and a waste of taxpayers’ money. “It validates what we have been saying all along, which is that Measure A could expose the city to potentially disastrous consequences,” Stenhouse said. “It’s already invited more lawsuits and nobody’s voted yet.” The City of Auburn said in a released statement that just because the court did not find these arguments to be clearly and convincingly false and misleading, doesn’t mean they are true. “The City is disappointed with the Superior Court’s decision to allow the argument to be printed at taxpayers’ expense without correction,” said Keith Nesbit, Auburn Mayor. “The City Council authorized the suit, filed in the name of the City Clerk, because it felt compelled to fight against false and misleading ballot arguments written by the Sacramento lobbyist group “The California Alliance for Jobs.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.