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Ryan Files Emergency Court Of Appeal Writ Application re Mayoral Runoff Ballot

We post key portions

(April 26, 2002) -- Urging the Court of Appeal to reverse what it calls an absurd outcome that does violence to the LB City Charter, attorneys for Norm Ryan filed an emergency application for a writ of mandate this morning.

We post key portions on links below.

Yesterday, as reported by, an L.A. Superior Court ruled that neither Mr. Ryan nor term-limited incumbent Mayor Beverly O'Neill are entitled to have their names printed on LB's Mayoral runoff ballot, leaving Vice Mayor Baker's name the only one printed on the June, 2002 ballot. This view had also been urged by the LB City Attorney's office.

Citing a 2001 CA Court of Appeal case that said courts are obliged to give a statute "a reasonable and commonsense interpretation consistent with its apparent purpose...which upon application will result in wise policy rather than malice or absurdity," lawyers Manuel Klausner and Patrick Manshardt (for Mr. Ryan) said in their writ application:

A common sense and practical construction of Article 2 of the City Charter is to recognize that Mayor O'Neill, as a termed-out incumbent, was ineligible to be nominated or to have her name as a candidate on the primary ballot. Mayor O'Neill could have won a write in campaign if she had received more than fifty percent of the vote in the primary nominating election. But her vote count in the primary election otherwise has no effect on reducing the reducing the required two names which must appear on the general election ballot.* [directs to footnote]

[footnote in writ application] Theoretically, Mayor O'Neill did not even need to run in the primary election, and obviously did so for political considerations rather than any reason having to do with qualifying as a nominee. Mayor O'Neill needed to run in the primary for practical reasons, such as holding down her base so that the endorsements and support she needed would not be pledged to other candidates had she opted to sit out the primary nomination election."[end footnote]
In other words, Mayor O'Neill is not a nominee [italics emphasis in original] ineligible to appear on the ballot. Rather, she is a write-in candidate ineligible to be a nominee, who can only win a primary nominating election by getting a majority of votes at the primary nominating election. See City Charter section 214(a)("the City Clerk...shall not accept or verify the signatures on any nomination paper for any person....").

A different result would be obtained for another candidate who is not a termed-out incumbent. Such a candidate could run a write-in campaign and qualify to be nominated for the run-off election -- because the prohibition on filing nomination papers under section 214(a) would not apply."

To keep file sizes short and download times quicker, we've split the key parts of the writ application (9 pages) and "points and authorities" (14 pages, legal arguments and the cases and reasoning supporting them) in separate files below.

To view the key parts of the writ application, click Ryan appeal writ application (approx. 550 kB).

To view the key parts of the points and authorities, click Ryan appeal legal points and authorities (approx. 1 MB)

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