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Downey Wins Fire Union Lawsuit over Charter Amendment; City Pursuing Anti-SLAPP Motion to Recover Attorney’s Fees

Downey, CA, March 18, 2014:  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin today rejected attempts by a petitioner and the Downey Firemen’s Association to amend the Impartial Analysis and ballot label for a proposed Charter Amendment on the June 3, 2014 ballot.

The Court found the City Attorney’s wording was accurate and not misleading when she wrote in the Impartial Analysis: “Under the Proposed Charter Amendment, the City Council would have the discretion, without first obtaining voter approval, to decide how to provide fire and police services for the City.”

The Court also found the following ballot label consistent with the Elections Code:

“Shall Section 702 of the Charter be amended to remove the requirement that the City shall provide for the staffing of the police and fire departments through its own staff and to remove the requirement that a two-thirds advisory vote is necessary before the City Council may consider alternative methods or agreements for providing police and fire services?”

“I am delighted that the Court has confirmed that the City was responsible and truthful in preparing the Impartial Analysis and ballot label for the proposed Charter Amendment,” said Mayor Fernando Vasquez , “Downey voters will now be able to exercise an informed right to vote.”

City officials’ motion under the State’s anti-SLAPP (“Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”) statute remains pending on May 27, 2014. The motion must be resolved to determine the City’s entitlement to recover its attorney’s fees.

Copies of the Court’s ruling will be available on the City’s election website because of public interest in this issue. 

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