Costa Mesans will not be voting on a ballot measure to alter the city’s governing structure in June. The proposed city charter was not filed by the city clerk on time, missing the Registrar of Voters cutoff by a day.
The city had hoped that the court system could force the measure to appear on the ballot anyway, citing ‘irreparable’ harm by the delay. However, both an initial ruling and an appeals court said the city failed to demonstrate the injury arises to that legal level. The first court to hear the case also said they did not have the authority to force the Country Registrar of Voters to accept late submissions.
The cause of the missed deadline is unknown at this time, and the city clerk has been placed on leave while an investigation is underway. According to a recent article by the LA Times, the clerk was reminded by county election officials of the deadline several times before it passed.
The delay means that the city will not be able to put the question of a charter before residents until November. Proponents of the charter had said that time was essential to control costs in the city. The charter would have given the council greater authority to outsource services; a move they say is essential to addressing the city’s finances.
Opponents, however, are calling the delay ‘justice.’