A judge ruled in favor of attorneys representing city workers Monday to hold an expedited hearing on April 3 about the language of Measure B, the pension and benefits reform ballot measure.
The ruling comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed Friday in California Superior Court that claims the ballot question violates the Election Code because it does not contain impartial and non-argumentative language, as the law requires.
“All of those hot button words are not supposed to be in a ballot question,” said Tom Saggau, a political consultant working with city labor unions. “It’s one of the reasons the judge today agreed to an expedited hearing before they print the ballots.”
In addition to the lawsuit, the Police Officers Association filed two complaints with the court claiming that the city violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act as well as requesting that the city enter into arbitration.
Some but not all of these issues are likely to come up in Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
City Attorney Rich Doyle requested in a memo Friday an impartial analysis of the pension and benefits reform measure. Because city attorneys would be impacted by any change, City Clerk Dennis Hawkins is listed as the person to draft the impartial analysis. But Hawkins told San Jose Inside today that the new langugae merely requires his signature because the analysis is done by outside counsel.
“I would be the author, but outside counsel has worked on it,” Hawkins said.
The expedited hearing regarding ballot language on April 3 could pose a number of problems due to the deadline for sending final ballot language to the county Registrar of Voters, both Saggau and Hawkins said.
“There’s a very short time frame on all of this,” Hawkins said. “The sample ballots and the vote-by-mail stuff goes out like May 2, or something like that. They need time to print it and do all the processing.”
Also on Tuesday’s council agenda:
— Mayor Chuck Reed’s 2012-13 budget proposal will be subject to a public hearing.
— Councilmembers Xavier Campos, Kansen Chu and Ash Kalra requested that staff work with school district superintendents to identify the best use of resources for $2.4 million for gang prevention and safe school initiative programs.
— And a major decision could be made on the Almaden Ranch Retail Center. If the council agrees with the planning commission’s recommendation, permits would be allowed “for the construction of up to 400,000 square feet of commercial uses on the subject site. The conceptual site plan proposes a mix of commercial buildings including large box, medium box, small pads, and a drive-through use, as well as, a new public street that will connect and extend Cherry Avenue from Almaden Expressway to Sanchez Drive.”