After its role in drafting the ballot arguments opposed to Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA’s) Measure J on the March 2020 ballot, TRANSDEF became concerned about the misleading language of the question on the ballot. Working with our attorney, we sent multiple letters to the County Registrar of Voters, the Board of Supervisors, and Contra Costa County Counsel. The second set of letters was sent after we discovered that County Counsel had modified her Impartial Analysis of the measure, taking out the first paragraph reference to the proposed sales tax being an additional tax. We decided that this was an overt effort to attempt to hide the fact that Measure J would double the transportation sales tax for the county.
Shortly thereafter, Contra Costa resident Mike Arata filed suit. The first hearing was held Christmas Eve, 2019. The trial court later dismissed all charges, and then refused to reconsider its decision when legal argument was offered demonstrating the court’s legal errors. The case was appealed. After surviving a Motion to Dismiss as Moot, an Appellant’s Opening Brief, Appendix Vol. 1, Appendix Vol. 2 and Motion for Judicial Notice were filed.
The case raises a host of interesting legal issues pertaining to ballot measures and the enforcement of a recent law that requires the language of a ballot measure to not be false, partial or argumentative.