Judge Lets County Registrar Apply New Prohibitive Cost To County Election Recounts, Stymies Reform Coalition Recount Of 16 Vote Margin Extending Long Beach Measure A Sales Tax
|(Aug. 22, 2021, 5:50 p.m.) -- An L. A. County Superior Court judge has let L.A. County's Registrar apply what amounts to a prohibitive new cost for residents seeking election recounts, an issue that arose when LB's Reform Coalition sought a recount of a 16-vote margin (2020) permanently extending the City Hall-sought "temporary" (2016) Measure A sales tax increase.
Under a new electronic vote tabulation system implemented by the County Registrar, Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan sought to apply a new cost -- ballot sorting -- greatly increasing a recount's cost. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff upheld the County Registrar action in reasoning that makes the Reform Coalition-sought recount -- and potentially other recounts in L.A. County -- financially infeasible.
Judge Beckloff's opinion can be viewed in full here.
Reform Coalition Exec. Dir. Ian Patton has annotated the ruling on the group's website (link immediately below) with his personal reactions (not those of the group's attorneys with whom the group will soon be in further consultation.)
The Reform Coalition website states in pertinent part on its website that "Both his demeanor during our trial hearing and, more importantly, the text of his decision...conveyed a total lack of regard for the moderately complex but deeply argued components of our case."
The City of Long Beach issued a statement indicating it's "pleased with the Court's ruling and thanks the Court and the County of Los Angeles for their work on this case." It said the action resolves a legal dispute related to extension of Measure A, which it described as a "historic investment in infrastructure and public safety in the City of Long Beach." [Measure A is a General Fund ("blank check") sales tax that City Hall can spend on any General Fund spending items.]
The Reform Coalition says it plans to meet with its attorneys to discuss the possibility of an appeal. It also plans to hold a Zoom "Recount Trial Debrief" on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. (link on the group's website page above.)
Judge Beckloff is also currently presiding in a case brought by LB's Riverpark Coalition challenging the City of Long Beach's approval (with the City Council overruling residents' appeal) of a commercial storage facility and parking lot (instead of a park) at 3701 Pacific Place.
Judge Beckloff, appointed in 2007 to the Superior Court by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a registered Democrat re-elected unopposed in 2016 to a six year term. He will next face L.A. County voters in 2022 if he seeks re-election.
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