Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal

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The vacant Morgan Hill parcel was designated, in the general plan, as “Industrial” until the city amended the plan to change its designation to “Commercial.” Its zoning was “ML-Light Industrial” before the amendment. Later, the city council changed the parcel’s zoning to “CG-General Commercial,” which would permit a hotel. The Coalition submitted a referendum petition challenging the rezoning to prevent the development of a hotel. The city adopted a certificate of sufficiency as to the referendum, but later “discontinue[d] processing,” believing that the referendum would enact zoning inconsistent with its general plan. The city recognized that it could, alternatively, change the parcel’s zoning to “Highway Commercial” and be consistent with the plan’s designation. Months later, the city called for a special election to submit the referendum to the voters but also authorized the filing of an action to have it removed from the ballot. The court ordered the referendum removed from the ballot and the rezoning certified as effective. The court of appeals reversed, holding that a referendum petition challenging an ordinance that attempts to make the zoning for a parcel consistent with the parcel’s general plan designation is not invalid if the legislative body remains free to select another consistent zoning should the referendum result in the rejection of the legislative body’s first choice of consistent zoning. View "City of Morgan Hill v. Bushey" on Justia Law

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In June 2012 the voters of City of San Diego (City) approved an initiative, the "Citizens Pension Reform Initiative" (hereafter, CPRI), which adopted a charter amendment mandating changes in the pension plan for certain City employees. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) determined City was obliged to "meet and confer" pursuant to the provisions of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (MMBA) over the CPRI before placing it on the ballot and further determined that, because City violated this purported obligation, PERB could order "make whole" remedies that de facto compelled City to disregard the CPRI. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded that under relevant California law the meet-and-confer obligations under the MMBA had no application when a proposed charter amendment is placed on the ballot by citizen proponents through the initiative process, but instead applied only to proposed charter amendments placed on the ballot by the governing body of a charter city. The Court also concluded that, although it was undisputed that the City's Mayor, Jerry Sanders, and others in City's government provided support to the proponents to develop and campaign for the CPRI, PERB erred when it applied agency principles to transform the CPRI from a citizen-sponsored initiative, for which no meet-and-confer obligations exist, into a governing-body-sponsored ballot proposal within the ambit of "California ex rel. Seal Beach Police Officers Assn. v City of Seal Beach," (36 Cal.3d 591 (1984)). Accordingly, the Court held PERB erred when it concluded City was required to satisfy the concomitant "meet-and-confer" obligations imposed by "Seal Beach" for governing-body-sponsored charter amendment ballot proposals, and therefore PERB erred when it found Sanders and the San Diego City Council committed an unfair labor practice by declining to meet and confer over the CPRI before placing it on the ballot View "Boling v. Public Employment Relations Bd." on Justia Law