Sunset Beach defenders tap colonial spirit

The opponents of new taxes in Sunset Beach are seeking another day in court, and they have the Tea Party behind them.

Not the Tea Party from 2010. The one from 1773.

Attorneys for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, which is backing the Citizen's Assn. of Sunset Beach, have called for a rehearing of the appellate court's decision that upheld the new taxes Sunset residents have to pay after being annexed by Huntington Beach.

The petition filed Oct. 22 starts with a historical reminder of the perils of taxation without representation, which some Sunset residents feel is now the case for them.

"Although Americans reflect fondly today on the Boston Tea Party as one of the key events that mobilized the American Revolution, we seem to have forgotten what our forefathers were fighting for: the right to be taxed only upon consent," the statement by attorneys Trevor A. Grimm, Jonathan M. Coupal and Timothy A. Bittle reads.

"On October 2, 2012, this court certified for publication its decision that the residents of Sunset Beach can be involuntarily annexed into the city of Huntington Beach with no right to consent or object to the new taxes they will have to pay to Huntington Beach."

Jack Markovitz, president of the citizens association, said the filing with the appeals court is largely a formality prior to filing a request to have the case heard by the California Supreme Court.

The association filed a lawsuit in December 2010 demanding that the city and Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission negate the annexation or hold it until Sunset residents could vote on paying the same utility tax and retirement property tax as the rest of Huntington.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Horn ruled against the lawsuit in August, upholding the annexation. The citizens association and Howard Jarvis group appealed the decision, but appellate judges again ruled in the city and county's favor in October.

The latest petition argues that the judges misapplied Proposition 218, which grants residents the right to vote on new taxes, and misstated constitutional law.

Huntington Beach City Attorney Jennifer McGrath declined comment on the latest appeal. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, though, wrote in an email that he "would be very surprised if the State Supreme Court would want to hear a case involving such a de minimus amount of money."

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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