City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

August 17, 2012
Group files lawsuit over Sacramento sales tax measure

A local watchdog group has filed a lawsuit seeking to have its argument in opposition to the city's November sales tax measure placed in sample ballots.

Eye on Sacramento filed the lawsuit after Mayor Kevin Johnson - who had volunteered to pen the opposition argument to Measure U - failed to get his statement in before the deadline. The group, which has generally been an ally of the mayor's, called Johnson's mishap a "stunning failure."

As it stands now, no opposition argument to the half-percentage-point sales tax hike will appear in ballot pamphlets sent to voters this fall. There is a supporting argument.

Eye on Sacramento accused the City Council of essentially blocking opposition arguments to the sales tax measure by assigning the job of writing that statement to the mayor. The group said state law requires that arguments written by outside groups must be rejected if that task is assigned to a member of the council.

"The City Council's assignment (of writing the argument) and the mayor's failure to perform it has very effectively blocked others from submitting ballot arguments against Measure U," the group said in a statement.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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