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The Solar 8: Our Legal Defense

The question of whether the “No on Prop. B” ballot argument is false and misleading will go before Judge David Yaffe at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday Jan. 8, 2009 in Department 86.

Mitchell Schwartz, president of the Los Angeles League of Convervation Voters and a partner in a new public affairs consulting firm specializing in labor and environmental issues, filed suit Dec. 18 against the author of the ballot argument Jack Humphreville, a long-time activist and member of the DWP Committee that operates with a memorandum of understanding with the utility as well as the  DWP Committee that operates outside the agency as an independent watchdog.

The seven others who signed the ballot argument — Soledad Garcia, Humberto Camacho, Kristine Lee, Nick Patsaouras, Joe Pulido, James O’Sullivan and myself — were not named.

The so-called Solar 8, had great difficulty finding a lawyer to handle the case during Christmas week, a problem compounded by getting only 10 calendar days to respond.

Noel Weiss, a candidate for City Attorney with a long record of community service, came to our rescue on Saturday and worked continuously for most of the next four days to prepare the pleadings in defense of the ballot argument.

From my point of view, he did a great job in defending the “No on Prop. B” argument and offering alternative language based on the highly critical outside consultant’s report that was made available to City Council President  Eric Garcetti on Nov. 4 but kept secret from the public until Dec. 19.

The declarations from Humphreville and from Patsaouras who was president of the DWP Board of Commissioners until Oct. 23, eight days after Garcetti began his three-week push to get Prop. B on the March 3 ballot are the heart of the pleadings.

Taken together their declarations make a compelling case that the process used to enact this measure was so seriously flawed that it made a mockery of the role of public hearings and debate and the measure itself is so seriously flawed that it will cause great harm to the city, to ratepayers and to hopes to bring a green energy program to Los Angeles.

But that’s just my point of view. What matters is what you think. And to come to conclusions on your own, you are going to have to read the documents for yourself. I have posted other documents in early articles and will post other documents later but here are Humphreville’s and Patsaouras’ declarations, the pro and con ballot arguments and the lawsuit.


Happy New Year!

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10 Responses to The Solar 8: Our Legal Defense

  1. spiffy says:

    This is why I will always avoid court in Los Angeles unless I have an easy, cut-and-dry case. Most of the lawyers aren’t interested in justice or the law, only in the biggest paycheck they can get. The law is about trickery and not about justice and truth. The law, as it is practiced in L.A., is not about protecting anyone unless they have money and/or power behind them. You are fortunate that you are well-connected Ron. Tragically, coalitions (aka “gangs”) are the only way to get heard.
    Good luck to you. I am a Democrat and I am anti-monopoly.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Given Patsouras’ position on the DWP Commission and his former relationship with the mayor and his closest advisors, his declaration is incredibly damning.

  3. anonymous says:

    NICE work, Noel and Jack!!
    Kaufman et al.- “Be careful of what you wish for”
    This is turning into a classic “Shoot yerself in the foot” scenario.
    Now the argument will be even stronger. Did these knuckleheads think that they could eliminate any No argument?
    The judge cannot make a decision that would affect the election- and eliminating a con argument would do just that.
    It will be fun to see Kaufman’s impish smirk turn to horror as he realizes you can’t win ‘em all.
    Tough shit, Steve. You too, Mitch.
    Happy New Year.

  4. Obi-Wan Kenobi says:

    “If you strike me down, I will only become stronger.”

  5. david r2b says:

    Least we not forget, exactly who the Judge is in this particular case. Judge David Yaffe is the same Judge that first heard arguments regarding the 2006/07 Proposition R. Prop R was also put on the Ballot by the Los Angeles City Council that violated the California State Constitution by bundling two unrelated items on one voting initiative: 1) changes in the “ethics” regulations and 2) extending the number of four year terms a council person can serve from two to three.
    Even though the Judge was shown documents from the City Attorney’s Office that the ethics portion of Prop R did not require a Citizen vote, he approved the measure as being legal. My opinion regarding terms limits is immaterial, but it’s obvious why the City Council wanted two subjects in the measure, because they felt the Citizens would not approve only term limits extension. Had the Judge followed the Constitutionally of the measure and NOT allowed bundling, he would loose his support from the political machine that runs Los Angeles and possibly not have a job the next time around.
    The Judge finds himself in the same position again. If he agrees with the NO on Prop B argument that proper Public review was not allowed, considering the overall importance/costs should B be passed, then he’ll loose support of La Machine.
    Judge Yaffe……….the ball is in your Court: who runs the City? The Citizens or La Machine?
    Happy New Year.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mark me as “confused” on the lawsuit here.
    Did the Plaintiffs follow a normal timeline for filing their lawsuit?
    If so, then why should they be blamed for you guys having a problem getting an attorney.
    Also I wasn’t aware that Mitchell Schwartz was the President of the League of Conservation Voters, I trust that organiztion on environmental issues. He also hasn’t been previously named as an Antonio lackey, yet your friends and even you are trying to paint him as such.
    Could he not be just a concerned environmentalists that read your ballot statement and filed suit?
    Just like David Hernandez was a concerned citizen on Measure R and the LA County Seal crosses issue?
    Why are concerned citizens like David applauded when he tries to clear up the truth on issues, yet Mitchell is yelled at when he attempts the same thing, using the same instruments (the courts)?
    Also have you read on Walter Moore’s blog who opposes Prop B like you, that the Plaintiffs have a “Slam Dunk” of a case?
    I mean did you guys even edit your arguments to be accurate? With your lazy editting you actually are hurting the “No” sides campaign if the judge rules in favor of the Plaintiffs, why would you guys be so careless?
    With your years of Editorial experience did you not catch this, or did you just not care?
    After reading the PDF’s attached on your blog, Jack Humphreville actually submits new language to be considered, isn’t this an admission that your original language was flawed somehow and that the Plaintiffs (League of Conservations Voters) was correct?
    I mean David Hernandez has issued a call to all the Mayoral Candidates to support your legal battle with a $1,000 donation, should we really be doing this if your lawyer (Noel Weiss) has already conceded defeat by allowing the No side to change their ballot argument language?
    Lastly, I just noticed this, but why are all the ads on this blog supported by “Private Solar Companies”
    Do these “Corporate CEO’s” know something we don’t, are you being bought off Ron?

  7. LouieG says:

    Those are Google Ads (read the fine print). If IBEW wanted their ad to come up here, it would. But they don’t need to advertise and compete like regular American Businesses- or do they?
    Are you hoping there will be NO argument against Prop B?
    Dream on, pal.
    The Judge’s hands are tied- he must keep the current language or allow other language- It’s that simple.
    As far as the “slam dunk”- Walter is probably right- much to the chagrin of the plaintiffs- the language of the con argument must be perfected.
    Think of it this way- the plaintiffs are saying “That’s not really why it sucks”, and the judge will order The Solar 8 to tell the truth about why it actually does suck. And then they will. This is very cool.
    God Bless America.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Duh, yeah, OK – Judge Yaffe will rule there can be no arguments against this measure. Really?
    Let’s stretch this one out. Funny thing is, ironically, that the pro guys won’t be allowed to make their argument better. That would take a court order- like this one. Ballot arguments can’t be changed after a certain date without court order, so they’re stuck with their original.
    The plaintiffs have sued to make the con argument better.
    That’s like suing your neighbor to show cause as to why he fucked you in the ass. Well now, what if he can?
    What a bunch of Schmucks. This is hilarious.

  9. meterman says:

    Getting Judge David Yaffe is more than a coincidence. Mitchell Schwartz is stacking the deck to sanitize the arguments against Prop B. Jack’s declaration is good but I’m sure Schwartz still wants much more sanitization than Jack’s updated language. Nick’s declaration is most damaging to the Petitioner. It will be most interesting if Judge Yaffe does not take this declaration as fact. He could end up helping the Petitioner by having the argument custom worded for their favor. There is no justice in Los Angeles when you have city politicians pulling the strings. Welcome to OZ.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Judge David Yaffe has not been reporting income he receives from Los Angeles County on Form 700
    December 18, 2008
    By AHRC News Services
    Events Relating to Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Retaliating Against Richard I. Fine

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