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Developing: Orange County (voter) files lawsuit to stop “transparency” ballot initiative

August 4, 2014
By

jacobs-fairyOOOOH, OOOOOH, OOOOOOOOH, were you reading along as we liveblogged last week’s Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting? Do you remember all of the weirdness and seeming secrecy that was passing from dais-place to dais-place? Did you catch the revisiting of the maligned  Brummer amendments, some weird strategy move by Commissioner Scott Boyd, the clammy hands, the moment when Teresa Jacobs agreed to put a citizens initiative on the ballot in which a.) the partisan leanings of your commissioners and mayor would be known to the public, b.) the elections of those officers would be held in November, in presidential election years (because Democracy) and c.) that would mean that Jacobs might have a two-year term instead of a four-year term?

Well, that’s all up in the air (even more than it was before), because on Friday, in a shifty move, a voter (cough, the county board, cough, or at least a Jacobs donor) sued Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles in order to keep Queen Teresa in office. Citizens for Informed Elections gathered more than 50k petitions to get the “transparency”/partisan amendment to the county charter on the November ballot. Tons of people showed up to tell the county commission last week not to pull this sicktime crap again. AND YET, SOMEHOW, SOME CONCERNED VOTER DECIDED TO SUE ON BEHALF OF THE COUNTY LATE ON A FRIDAY IN A VERY DETAILED MANNER. The suit contends that this is some dishonest swipe at Jacobs. It also says that Citizens for Informed Elections cannot join the suit, because why would we want the people you are offending to be engaged. This whole thing stinks. Here’s the reaction from Citizens from this afternoon:

Aug 4, 2014
For Immediate Release

“Late Friday, one of Mayor’s Jacobs donors filed a frivolous lawsuit to disenfranchise 50,000 voters who seek transparent elections. Democracy works best when the most amount of people are able to participate and this attempt to block the democratic process under false claims is just another tactic to suppress the will of the people.

The county mayor’s office is the most powerful position in Orange County and this charter amendment simply moves the county mayor’s election to the time when most voters participate and to a time when more people have access to the ballot. We followed the rules set out by the county charter when we collected 50,000 signatures necessary to put this on the ballot, and we have talked to tens of thousands of people who would like the ability to decide on this matter. To deny them that ability is a flagrant violation of our democratic rights and the county’s own rules.

We have seen this attempt to derail democracy back in 2012, when the same county mayor and commission tried to use the courts to block people from voting on a citizen’s initiative. The judge ruled in favor of democracy back then and I am confident the court will uphold the county charter once more.”

 OK, and for you legal eagles, here is the full lawsuit. This Banana Republic is starting to rot. We will obviously be watching.

RLS – Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Declatory Relief – FINAL

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