Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo granted the petition by Berkeley voters Jesse Arreguin, Sally Nelson, Stefan Elgstrand, Austene Hall and James Massar challenging the ballot question written by Mayor Tom Bates, the most vocal opponent of Measure R, and approved by his Council majority, over the objections of Councilmembers Anderson, Arreguin and Worthington. The petition alleged that the ballot question was illegal because it did not conform to legal requirements about accuracy and impartiality. In the attached decision Judge Grillo agreed that certain statements of the ballot question did constitute advocacy and ordered language stricken and amended to make it more accurate, fair and neutral.
Click here to download the full text of the decision.
Petitioner (and Councilmember) Jesse Arreguin who has no legal training, never went to law school or took the bar, wrote the briefs and argued the case in court against James Harrison, partner from Remcho, Johansen and Purcell, a preeminent election law firm, hired by the City of Berkeley to represent the Council in the case.
This decision is a victory not only for the supporters of Measure R who deserve a neutral description of the initiative on the ballot, but is a victory for fair elections.