‘My hands are tied’

Dan Abendschein reports that sample ballots for a Covina city measure that would renew the city’s $5.5 million user’s tax – which was previously voted against – will be missing opposition arguments. Covina claims that it rejected the argument because it was filed late.

[City Clerk Amy] Turner did get a copy of the argument from the county Tuesday, one day after the deadline. She said that she consulted the city attorney about including the argument on the ballot.

“He told me that I had to follow the boundaries set by the City Council, so my hands are tied,” said Turner.

Opponents said that the city did not tell them how to correctly file the arguments.

Paul Drugan, of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office, told [Steve Millard, an anti-tax activist who opposes the measure] that the county schedule would have required him to turn in the argument to Covina by 11 a.m. March 17. Turner’s instructions to Millard said he had until the end of the day to turn in the argument.

“If it were time-stamped for any time past 11:00, it would not have been valid,” said Drugan. Turner said the schedule she received from the county did not have a time of day listed on it.

This story ran alongside the city’s announcement that it would be laying off 99 employees, which will come with nearly $1 million in severance packages and paid leave. Considering the layoffs, I could understand why the city needs the utility tax so badly. But what about the “spirit of the law?” If a group opposing the measure missed the deadline by one day, do you think they should be allowed to get their opposition on the sample ballot or should they get over it and realize that they missed their chance?

To view the opposition, click here.

  • http://westcovinawatcher.blogspot.com West Covina Watcher

    I think they should give it to them. Part of the democratic process is to hear both sides. If it’s so important, Mr. Millard should have turned it in sooner, but I rather forgive the tardiness of one resident than put a muzzle over his entire cause. It’s for the sake of ALL Covina residents– that outweighs any council-imposed rule, especially when the council is pushing for the tax.