Advocacy group supports Sunset Beach independence

A political watchdog group has joined forces with the Citizen's Assn. of Sunset Beach in its appeal of a recent court decision regarding the community's annexation to Huntington Beach.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which formed in 1978 to defend taxpayers' rights, plans to prepare the briefs and oral arguments for the association's appeal of Orange County Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Horn's August decision to allow Huntington to annex the neighboring seaside community.

Assn. President Jack Markovitz said his group planned to file its appeal as soon as Horn issued a signed final judgment on the case. He expected the judgment within the coming days.

The Jarvis group's founders, Howard and Estelle Jarvis, in 1978 aided the passage of Proposition 13, which limits property taxes, and in 1996 the group supported Proposition 218, which grants residents the right to vote on new taxes.

Proposition 218 became a point of contention during the court case over Sunset Beach, as the association claimed it was unconstitutional to annex the neighborhood without letting residents vote on whether they would pay the same taxes as the rest of Huntington. The city argued that the taxes did not count as new because they were already in place before the annexation.

Horn, in his ruling, sided with the city, but Tim Bittle, the director of legal affairs for the Jarvis group, said he agreed with the association's stance.

"They are certainly new to the Sunset Beach homeowners," he said about the taxes.

The association filed a lawsuit in December seeking to block the annexation until a vote on taxes could be held. The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission, though, declared the annexation final in August.

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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