Appeals Court Orders San Bernardino County to Print Measure Z on June Ballot

4th District Court of Appeals May Rule For or Against Measure Z

On Wednesday, March 30th 4th District Court of Appeals Judge Art W. McKinster stayed proceedings associated with San Bernardino County Measure Z. The Appeals Court ordered “The proceedings are STAYED pending determination of the petition on its merits or further order of this court.” Further legal machinations through the end of the week resulted in direction from the Appeals Court to print Measure Z on the June ballot. However, the Appeals Court has yet to rule on the merits of the case. Both parties anticipate a ruling by Monday, April 11th.

Measure Z, an effort to place repeal of the Fire Protection Service Zone Five (FP-5) before fire district voters in the June election, was side-tracked by a ruling from the San Bernardino County Superior Court. In a tentative ruling, later affirmed in court, Judge David Cohn rendered judgment that the initiative petition contained “false and misleading information.” In consequence, the court granted the San Bernardino County Fire District’s request to prohibit the Registrar of Voters from placing the measure on the June ballot.

However, in an Emergency Writ submitted to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday March 30th, Alexander Frank counsel for proponents of Measure Z, argued the “Superior Court Erred in Granting the District’s Petition.” Frank wrote that the Superior Court ruling “…is starkly wrong because it ignores the plain language of Elections Code Section 18600.” In response, the Appeals Court ordered proceedings stayed on Wednesday, March 30th. 15218 Summit Ave #300-723 Fontana, CA 92336 (909) 206-2826

Deputy County Counsel Jolena A. Grider weighed in via papers submitted to the Appeals court on Thursday, March 31st. On behalf of the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, Grider asked for clarification to the Appeals Court order. “The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters requests clarification from the Court on whether the Order issued on March 30, 2022 is intended to stay the printing of ballots for the June 7, 2022 statewide election. If the Order was not intended to stay the printing of ballots, the Registrar is requesting clarification as to whether the Court of Appeal is ordering that the Initiative to Repeal the Special Tax Associated with Fire Protection Service Zone Five should or should not be included in the ballot and associated materials (such as the Voter Information Guide) for the June 7, 2022 statewide election.” In addition, Mr. Bradley Hertz, counsel for the Fire Protection District, turned in a 29 page brief as an opening salvo against the proponents’ Measure Z appeals brief.

Unofficial word late Friday indicated the Appeals Court directed the County Registrar of Voter to include Measure Z on the June ballot. However, the court has yet to rule on the merits of the brief. This could yield the unusual situation where Measure Z is on the ballot in June, but the court has ruled the underlying petition as moot.

Tom Murphy, spokesman for The Red Brennan Group stated “With the help of the California Court of appeals, it appears Measure Z survived the poor treatment it received in Judge Cohn’s courtroom. With any luck, pending the merits resolution, it will be presented to the voters this June – where it rightfully belongs.” Contact Info: Tom Murphy President The Red Brennan Group 15218 Summit Ave #300-723 Fontana, CA 92336 https://redbrennan.org/fire-prevention-zone-five-expansion

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