Measure C will remain on ballot

Alameda’s Measure C sales tax initiative will remain on the June 5 ballot, and the ballot will go to voters without an argument against the measure, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Evelio Grillo ruled that city officials followed the law when they denied a ballot argument against the measure that came in four days after a posted deadline despite “grave concerns” that the seven-day turnaround for ballot arguments was too short.

Measure C opponents had argued that the city should have allowed 14 days for ballot arguments, but Grillo ruled that the law allows a shorter deadline for measures that share a ballot with other election matters. They had also asked the judge to delete Measure C from the June 5 ballot and voter pamphlet, and to require that opponents’ arguments be included.

In denying opponents’ request to strike language from the ballot, the judge ruled that they failed to prove the city’s ballot statements were false and misleading as they claimed.

“It's disappointing of course. Alameda voters will be denied a chance to hear both sides of the issue,” said David Howard, spokesman for opponents of the measure. He said anyone interested in the measure could read opposing arguments on that campaign’s website.

The measure's proponents said the judge made the right call.

"This was the right outcome for protecting the rules of the electoral process," a campaign spokesperson said. "The judge was not ruling about Alameda or Measure C."

City Manager John Russo commented on the ruling on Twitter.

“Alameda residents get to decide City's future, not bogus lawsuits,” Russo wrote.

The City Council unanimously voted on March 7 to put the measure on the ballot. Proceeds from the 30-year, half-cent sales tax would pay for a new Fire Station 3 and emergency operations center, a new pool and lockers, renovations to the Carnegie Building and three other fire stations and city vehicles. Money would also be put toward the construction of an all-weather field.

Ballot arguments were due to City Clerk Lara Weisiger’s office on March 15, but Measure C opponents tried to file their ballot argument with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on March 16. When they tried to file with the city clerk on the following Monday, their ballot argument was denied because it was turned in too late.

Yes on C campaign: http://www.preservingalameda.com/

No on C campaign: http://www.milkingalameda.com/