CES – Initiative/Referendum Law

Initiative/Referendum Law

Campaign Counsel: Mr. Skinnell has served as counsel to a number of campaigns to qualify and enact, or oppose, ballot measures presented to the electorate, advising those campaigns on the requirements governing the preparation and circulation of petitions, ballot arguments and litigation relating to those arguments, and the substance of potential measures. Some of those recent projects include:

Advising a developer in Southern California on a recent successful petition drive to qualify initiatives to enact land use approvals for a multi-million square foot industrial park, and on a subsequent, successful campaign to oppose qualification of a referendum against one of the approvals after its adoption by the city council.

Advising a developer on preparation and circulation of a successful 2014 land use measure in San Francisco.

Advising a local ballot measure committee on the successful enactment of a 2012 tax measure in San Mateo County.

Advising a developer regarding defects in a 2011 San Francisco referendum petition that unsuccessfully sought to challenge the developer’s project.

James v. Schmidt, Case No. 16CV299134 (Santa Clara Super. Ct. 2016): successfully challenged statements in ballot arguments supporting Measure C in Cupertino as false and misleading; statements ordered stricken from ballot pamphlet.

King v. Dupuis, Case No. RG16809407 (Alameda Super. Ct. 2016): successfully challenged, as false and misleading, statements contained in the ballot argument against Measure H, a proposed bond measure in the Dublin Unified School District.

Johnson v. Numainville, Case No. RG14736763 (Alameda Super. Ct. 2014): successfully challenged, as illegally biased, ballot label adopted by Berkeley City Council and “impartial” analysis by Berkeley City Attorney.

Barrios v. Gutierrez, Case No. BS138863 (Los Angeles Super. Ct. 2012): successfully challenged, as illegally biased, ballot label adopted by El Monte City Council.

Vargas v. City of Salinas, 46 Cal. 4th 1 (2009): represented the California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers’ Association, California Business Roundtable and California Business Properties Association as amici curiae in successfully urging the Supreme Court to reject the appeals court’s holding that the test for illegal expenditure of public funds in connection with ballot measures under Stanson v. Mott, 17 Cal. 3d 206 (1976), is express advocacy rather than a contextual analysis.