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Judge restates decision in Newport ballot argument case; says defendants can pursue legal costs

An Orange County Superior Court judge has entered his final judgment rejecting attempts to swap out arguments opposing a Newport Beach ballot proposition.

Judge Timothy Gibbs affirmed Wednesday the decision he released last week, adding that the defendants in the case — Newport Beach City Clerk Leilani Brown and local activist Bob Rush — could pursue their legal costs from the plaintiffs. Those costs are to be determined.

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Former Newport mayors Keith Curry, Rush Hill and Mike Henn and former mayor pro tem Jean Watt sued in an attempt to have their argument against Measure T run in informational pamphlets for the November election in place of one written by Rush.

Gibbs said that if he had allowed the plaintiffs’ argument to run, the review periods for the substitution would have delayed publication of the pamphlets for up to three weeks. They would have cleared the Sept. 12 printer deadline by a day, but the judge considered that too late for the election.

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Measure T will ask voters to approve an amendment to Newport’s city charter to require 55% voter approval whenever the council wants to spend at least $50 million on capital projects using a financing method known as certificates of participation.

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