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03-14-2013, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkfloyd View Post
It can't. It's an administrative act and not a legislative act. As that article showed, the 49ers' loan in Santa Clara was trying the same referendum tactic and it was brushed aside. They can try all they want but it's not going to stop the deal and it will get thrown out in court.
Not a valid comparison.

That challenge against Santa Clara was thrown out because it was an administrative action - implementing policy already approved by Santa Clara voters in 2010.

A group called Santa Clara Plays Fair has submitted 5,500 signatures on each of two referendum petitions challenging the City Council's development and financing plans for the stadium, apparently more than enough to qualify for the ballot. Last week, however, the council voted 5-2 to discard the petitions on the grounds that its actions were immune from referendum.

The legal rationale, outlined in a series of previous court cases unrelated to the stadium, is that only "legislative" acts, those that make new policies for a state or local government, can be enacted by voter initiatives or undone by referendums. "Administrative" acts, which tell government officials how to implement their policy, cannot be overturned by referendum or approved by voter initiative.

"Actions that follow the legislative act, that carry it out, are administrative, and we believe those are not subject to referendum," said City Attorney Richard Nosky, a City Council appointee who advised the council to keep the two referendums off the ballot.

In this case, Nosky said, the legislative act was Measure J, an initiative passed by Santa Clara's voters in June 2010 to approve the proposed stadium as a joint project of the city and the football team. He said the $850 million loan, approved by the council in November, would merely implement that policy decision.

The issue stems from the Santa Clara Stadium Authority's approval of $850 million in bank loans to fund the $1 billion stadium in December. Opponents then gathered more than 4,500 signatures to put the loan on the June ballot, but the city threw out the petitions.

In arguing their position, the city and 49ers cited past cases, saying voters only have one shot at deciding "legislative" policy issues, such as stadium construction. Any subsequent issues -- like the loan -- are only "administrative" acts needed to carry out the wishes of voters who approved the project in June 2010, they maintain.

Opposition group Santa Clara Plays Fair, however, asserted that voters deserved another crack at the stadium because the bank loan was never part of the original

Before a brief hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Judge Peter Kirwan sided with the 49ers and the city. "The court finds the (bank loans) at issue here are administrative acts not subject to referendum," Kirwan wrote.
There is no similar approved council vote or referendum on public financing of an arena in Sacramento.

The Sacramento City Attorney admits that any public funding when approved could be subject to referendum.

Sacramento City Attorney Jim Sanchez acknowledged that a council "final" action on an arena deal could be subject to a referendum, but he said the expected upcoming council vote on a preliminary arena financing term sheet is not a final council action, and would not be subject to a referendum.

If, down the road, the council approves a final deal, and finishes an environmental assessment, opponents of that deal could initiate a petition drive to put a measure on the ballot, Sanchez said. In that case, they would need to gather legal signatures equivalent to 10 percent of the voter turnout in the previous general election. In Sacramento, officials have put that number at about 20,000 signatures.

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