Judge Rejects Resident’s Challenge To RC Attorney’s Measure Synopsis

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge David Cohn on September 3 rejected Rancho Cucamonga resident Kim Segool-Earl’s legal contention that Rancho Cucamonga City Attorney Jim Markman’s synopsis of Measure A lacks impartiality.
Measure A, if passed, will impose on the residents of the city’s west side an annual $89 special tax.
At present, residents on the west side of the city pay at least $31 and as much as $200 a year, depending upon the location of their parcel and when it was first subject to assessment, to maintain streets and parks.
The city council in July approved the creation of a blanket Mello-Roos community facilities district intended to eliminate the seven existing smaller assessment districts and their inconsistent fee schedules on the 27,000 parcels, establishing a uniform assessment. In conjunction with that switchover, the city council further approved a resolution setting a special election in November for Measure A.
The replacement district would support maintenance and operations at eight parks and with keep 6,000 street lights in the city glowing.
Approval of Measure A would ratify the special tax and close out landscape maintenance districts 1, 3A, 3B and 5, assessment district PD 85, and street lighting districts 2 and 6.
Segool-Earl said in her reading of Markman’s analysis she detected a discrepancy in what the city council specified in the special election resolution it approved and the size-up  provided by the city attorney. In particular, Segool-Earl suggested, Markman states the  special tax will replace the existing assessment but the actual language in Measure A does not guarantee that outcome.
Segool-Earl went to court, asking that two of the sentences penned by Markman be removed. Those sentences read: “The special tax will replace existing assessments levied for such purposes. The resolution approved by the council in July does state that it would form the community facilities district to finance public services and facilities and refers to a previous resolution in which Rancho Cucamonga had ‘declared its intention to form a community facilities district.’”
Segool-Earl said that the city should not have entrusted Markman to provide an “impartial analysis” of the measure because Markman, who is paid by the city, is not unbiased in the matter.
Segool-Earl said she wanted unequivocal language in the measure stating the existing assessment districts are going to be eliminated.
Stephen Lee, representing the city of Rancho Cucamonga, on September 3 told Cohn that in Section 7 of the measure, it is specified that the services that were previously funded by the assessment will be funded by the special tax.
Segool-Earl responded by asserting that Section 7 was “misleading because there is not one word about these districts and/or that they are going to be terminated.” She claimed that no reasonable reading of the analysis gives that impression, asserting, “If you don’t have an assessment, then you wouldn’t need a district. The misleading part is that [for] the average voter and resident on first take, this is a confusing resolution. I did not see [anything] in the measure or the resolution 15:112 that guarantees the assessment and assessment districts will be eliminated. I feel, being a voter, that it was misleading to me. Others said that, too. The resolution does not terminate anything.”
Lee responded that there was no ambiguity whatsoever in Resolution 15:112 and it was “not misleading as written. It can go to the printers. We now actually need a judgment…that the materials as written may go to the printer.”
Judge Cohn concurred, saying he found no ambiguity or confusing language and determined that Markman’s impartial analysis was not false and misleading. Cohn ordered that the measure could go to the printer.

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