Staff is in error about who legally calls the shots on consolidated elections and “ballot arguments”


It’s getting more ridiculous, this Measure B election.

Since up to 5 people may be signatories to the argument, the Council may also designate that the argument against can include other signatories. Further, if Council designates themselves to write the in favor and against arguments, and multiple people submit arguments, the only ones to be published are the Council’s for and against arguments. If for some reason Council Members on either side fail to submit arguments on time, then other submittals would be published based on the statutory priority list. Arguments in favor and against a measure may be no more than 300 words.

Blame it on hubris or bad legal advice, but it turns out that our city council has no idea what it’s talking about legally if they think that they have any jurisdiction on how this upcoming Measure B vote will be run. The above is not their decision to make about who “designates” what ballot argument gets chosen.

Even during the most normal of local election seasons the council has no legal say in who can write the ballot arguments. This decision is clearly within the domain of what state law refers to as the “elections official,” and which in the case of a Burbank only election would be the city clerk.

But since Burbank chose to go consolidated in November and join up with the county, it’s the county elections official who gets to make these ultimate decisions. Not the Burbank City Council, not their city attorney, not their paid staff members, and not even our supposedly independent city clerk (10403).

Not this time, and by the city’s own choice.

State law also spells out exactly what choices have to be made when it comes to determining whose name gets selected to go onto the ballot arguments, no matter who’s making it or who the elections official is, county or city. It’s never just up to the politicians or the sponsors to decide, and even the elections official has little say in who gets primacy. By law the sponsor gets first crack, and then there’s a whole spelled-out list on down the line to pick from if they choose not to draft their own statement.

The council members can write an argument if they want to, but they can’t designate it as THE argument. That’s for the elections official to decide based upon the elections code priority list. As sponsor they get first crack, but it’s not because they made the decision to place themselves as the author. It wasn’t their decision to make.

The law also allows up to five signatories on these ballot arguments, and so it’s not the case that the Burbank City Council “may” allow up to five. It’s five.

Even worse for the council members on this one (and whoever wrote last night’s ridiculously mistaken staff report), they cannot sign together into one collective noun and then try to latch four other outside names onto the list in order to give their statement additional promotion and support. Their four names will count as four names and there will thus be room for only one more.

We’re only mentioning this now because you can be damned sure that Albano & Co are going to try to get eight names onto that advocacy statement by claiming that the council-majority should only count as one, especially if Gordon can get an impressive cadre of opponents onto his own opposition piece.

Just watch. But if they insist on shooting their wad this way by all joining together as one wasted voice then that’s the decision they’ve made. It wouldn’t be ours.

The bottom line here is that our city council has absolutely no control or discretion over how this Measure B vote will be run, nor over who’s allowed to weigh in on the official ballot arguments. That’s a job for the elections official as guided by state law, and only the elections official.






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25 responses to “Staff is in error about who legally calls the shots on consolidated elections and “ballot arguments”

  1. Zip

    Make sense Semichorus but you forgot these self absorbed idiots really believe that they control everything and that everything is all about them. Worst I think is that they believe that the tax payers should also pay for them to mail out their come on and vote yes book again it sounded like written by them so question is do they allow the book to also have a please vote no section that’ equal in length of it all about the marvelous new deal brought to us by secret meetings and secret deal making ?

    • semichorus

      After I looked up the law I had a big laugh over the presumptuousness of last night’s staff report. The council has no power over this. It’s all defined by state law, and all necessary decisions are made by the elections official, which is NOT ultimately the Burbank city clerk this time.

      So they’re kidding themselves about “designating” anything.

  2. M.

    That sounds good if they hand the election over to the county then they would lose all control of it because the county officials control it then ?

    Why is the city attorney always unfamiliar with everything ? She always sounds like she is unsure of every single thing doesn’t she ever do any legal research ?

    • semichorus

      I don’t know who wrote that staff report, but I knew there was something wrong about the council deciding on their own just who was to be “designated” as the official writers of position statements.

      Sure enough, one look at the laws answered my concern. They have no say in the matter. That they can write their own and have it be the one that’s published has only to do with their position on the list of interested parties. State law says that the elections official has to pick them first if and when there are competing statements simply because they are the sponsor of the measure.

      If Gordon wants to write an opposition statement then he’d be first on that list too because he’s a political figure. Conceivably someone else higher in office could be chosen over Gordon if they suddenly came out of the woodwork. Then it goes down the list of interested parties.

      But the council can not PICK Gordon to be THE author of the opposition statement. They have no say in the matter, even though they were told they do. And have acted upon it.

      Simply put … they don’t run the Measure B election.

  3. Gary

    Question. I am watching the council meeting from last night on the city web site right now. Does anybody know who the old bald man with the glasses that’s sitting right behind the people speaking in the video. He looks like one evil and mean man with the looks he is giving people.Do they have him sitting there to intimidate people ? Who is he ?

    • Anonymous 3

      Sure, and there really ARE monsters under your bed.

    • semichorus

      No, sounds like Jack O’Neill who I’m sure is a (paid?) booster. I’ll look at it again.

      • True that

        Watching the chamber people and their parade of clowns made me think just how many of these people ever show up on anything unless they see cash in it for themselves so what promises were made to bring them out from under their rocks ? Maybe its time to check places I shop to see if they are chamber members and if they are quickly decide to shop elsewhere. Sounds like a good idea to me.

  4. Anonymous 3

    I imagine the County does not care. They are probably happy to devolve this responsibility to a more local control. And local control is good, haven’t you heard?

    • semichorus

      Not always. (Brown v Bd of Education, 1954)

      But neither party has any say in this matter. State law designates who gets chosen to write these statements. Not Albano and the council.

      Here’s a question I haven’t brought up yet: why doesn’t the Authority write it?

      Why the council?

      Why is the council pushing this terminal? This whole thing has become a complete perversion of Measure B.

  5. Burbank Person

    When it comes to synchronization the Burbank establishment and the Rockettes have a lot in common.

    • Burbank1

      Watching this video I now can see those show girl costumes the walking dead from the chamber wore in these videos. Guess the rest of the dead people will vote for the airport too huh ?

  6. Charles Brown

    What happened to Bob Frutos ?? So many of us supported
    him, his platform was Neighborhood Empowerment. He has
    changed sides as well as his name to: Airport Empowerment.
    Name change to: Bob Frutose- Sugar coating the Airport’s
    Lies. He infers; it is a done deal.

    He, Talamontes, Rogers and Luddy want to single handedly
    enlarge the Airport. How many of our Burbank residents are
    apprised of meetings ?? THEY want to Vote in November on an
    already over burdened ballot for the President and measures
    so detailed one might consider bringing a lawn chair and
    lunch to vote on their Airport plans. We need to Vote, We
    have the right to Vote and We need to be HONESTLY informed –
    what we are voting for or against including the impact on us.
    This Airport is in our backyard not Glendale and Pasadena’s

    It would be helpful to have an Independent Election on the

  7. Alfred

    Does anyone know if NO on B means no terminal or is it YES on B for no new terminal? We better get that straight before we support NO.

  8. Burbank Bill

    Airport to fund ballot measure for replacement terminal
    Anthony Clark Carpio Anthony Clark Carpio Contact Reporter
    To further its efforts to construct a new 14-gate replacement terminal, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority agreed this week to reimburse the city of Burbank for any costs related to calling a Measure B election for the project.

    Commissioners voted 8-0 during a meeting Monday to pay back an estimated cost of about $193,200 to Burbank for calling the special election to ask the city’s residents if they want a replacement terminal. Pasadena Commissioner Steve Madison was absent.

    Should the city’s actual cost for the election be more than the estimate, authority members agreed to pay the additional amount.

    “This is a fair offer that we’re making to pick this up,” Burbank Commissioner Don Brown said as he moved the item forward.

    Board Vice President Terry Tornek said both the authority and the city have evolved to a point where they can work with one another on the replacement terminal project, noting that the relationship between the two agencies was more contentious in the past.

    “This is a tremendous opportunity for both the city and the airport to move ahead and achieve something that I think will benefit both parties dramatically,” he said.

    For decades, the authority has been looking to replace its current 232,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal, which was built in the 1930s, with a more modern facility that meets current Federal Aviation Administration and seismic standards.

    The authority is leaning heavily toward building a 355,000-square-foot, 14-gate replacement terminal at the northeast section of the airfield known as the B-6 parcel. However, the authority needs approval by voters, as required by Measure B, so the measure will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The city holds an easement on the property.

    Should the ballot measure fail in the Nov. 8 election, the authority is ready to build a 355,000-square-foot, 14-gate terminal on the southwest quadrant of the airfield. Airport officials have stated that they can build at that site without voter approval because the property is owned by the authority.

  9. Anonymous 3

    I am more and more confident that Measure B will come out a yes.

  10. DixieFlyer

    Check the Follower.

    No mention of the effort to screw up the Consent Agenda.

    Shitty attorney INSISTED that the Airport item be on “CONSENT”.

    The Mayor Puffer is stupid, and asleep at the switch.

    Attorney needs to learn her JOB.

    And stop playing games.

    She encourages hiding truth from the Public with various forms of Brown Acts, in Private as well as in Public

    Reporter wasn’t even there.

  11. Anonymous

    And we will get a shiny new airport that even fewer people use now. American and Jetblue have bailed. Often it is 100 bucks cheaper to use LAX. Look at Ontario and Palmdale airports. Nice, modern facilities that are dead and underused due to cost. So puffer and Rogers can say no tscpyer money. So let’s soak the flier with more fees. Folks will just use LAX and all its headaches to save a buck.

  12. Anonymous

    It’s easy to get what the City and the Airport want when theres lots of ballot stuffing.

  13. Anonymous 3.0

    Dead people are voting ?

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