rules in favor of referendum proponents
Samantha Nelson, August 26, 2020
A San Diego judge has ruled that the proponents of
a referendum petition against the North River Farms development
project did not commit fraud and forgery in their signature-gathering
January, a lawsuit was filed alleging the people who collected
signatures for a referendum petition committed fraud, forgery
and misrepresentation in the process. The lawsuit also alleged
important information was withheld from signers and that illegal
political fundraising was conducted.
lawsuit named City Clerk Zeb Navarro, County Registrar of
Voters Michael Vu, and Oceanside residents Arleen Hammerschmidt
and Kathryn Carbone as defendants. The suit was filed on behalf
of resident Barbara Hazlett and backed by Integral Communities,
the developer of North River Farms.
few months after the lawsuit was filed, referendum proponents
filed a special motion to strike, claiming the case was a
SLAPP lawsuit is a frivolous lawsuit filed to stop someone
from exercising the freedom of speech, said Everett
DeLano, the attorney who represented the referendum proponents.
It has no merit, its just filed to stop the rights
of the proponents.
Aug. 21, two hearings were held one to hear three depositions
of evidence against referendum proponents and the other for
a motion to strike.
Gregory Pollack of the San Diego Superior Court saw no evidence
of forgery or fraud and granted the referendum proponents
motion to strike in full.
winning, now we get to let the voters decide, DeLano
told The Coast News.
will be issuing a written ruling of his decision.
are very pleased that the judge saw through the empty accusations
by the developer and we are looking forward now to making
sure the community understands the issues involved in the
upcoming ballot measure and Vote No on L, Hammerschmidt,
who was named in the lawsuit, stated in a news release.
motivation behind this lawsuit was clear to intimidate
members of the public and to punish those who spoke up in
opposition to the project, Carbone said in the same
confident that the people of Oceanside will see the truth
of whats happening here and will support our efforts
to stop this development by voting no on Measure L in November,
Carbone later told The Coast News via Facebook Messenger.
Integral Communities is disappointed in the courts ruling,
Principal Lance Waite said the developer respects the courts
decision and continues to believe its 585-unit housing project
will benefit the city.
hope the many merits of an agriculturally based project that
looks to solve larger community issues such as traffic, underfunded
schools and housing affordability, will garner support from
the greater community and urge a YES vote on Measure L,
Waite said in a statement provided to The Coast News.
to Waite, North River Farms has committed to providing $80
million in infrastructure, over $5 million to the Oceanside
Unified School District and affordable homes for Oceansides
referendum will appear as Measure L on the ballot. Specifically,
it will ask voters if the rezoning of approximately 176.6
acres in northeastern Oceanside (South Morro Hills) to build
the North River Farms development project should be adopted.
residents are opposed to the housing project, citing concerns
including traffic congestion, urban sprawl and its environmental
impact on carbon emissions, loss of agricultural land. Additionally,
many are concerned about the location of the project because
of its susceptibility to fires.
Martinek, a concerned resident who is against the housing
project, is frustrated by the efforts to stop the referendum.
should have the right to vote on this project, Martinek
lawsuit naming the same defendants was recently filed in July
on behalf of Integral Communities. The new lawsuit argues
that the referendum is in violation of Senate Bill 330, a
new state law that intends to address the states housing
shortage and affordability crisis by boosting supply and expediting
will once again represent the same defendants in the new case
as he did in the previous case. He also believes this new
case is much ado about nothing like the previous
think its a bunch of nonsense, DeLano said.
new lawsuit argues that the referendum focuses on the zoning
while the citys General Plan that allows housing to
be built in the proposed location. DeLano said the Supreme
Court of California has already rejected that argument in
the 2018 case City of Morgan Hill v. Bushey.
to Justia.com, the Supreme Court determined that the people
of a city can challenge by referendum a zoning ordinance amendment
that would bring the ordinance into compliance with a change
to the citys general plan as long as the local government
has other means available to make the zoning ordinance and
general plan consistent with each other.
noted he doesnt believe a decision will be made on the
second case until after the vote in November.