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Judge sides with Glendale in lawsuit, says language in Measure N ballot argument is misleading

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A ballot argument in favor of the proposed repeal of the city’s utility users tax was revised per direction this week from a judge, who said the original language was misleading.

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Measure N goes before voters on June 7. Each voting pamphlet contains an argument against the measure — that was written by the city — and one in favor of it, written by the circulators of the petition who got the measure on the ballot.

However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien sided with the city in its lawsuit against resident Bill Taliaferro, who city officials said used inaccurate information in his argument.

City officials were most concerned with Taliaferro’s statement that the loss of the utility users tax — about $17.5 million — only amounts to 2% of the General Fund budget.

The city argued that it’s actually 9.5% of the General Fund, citing financial records.

City Atty. Mike Garcia said he was pleased with the victory and that the sample ballots will not contain inaccurate information.

The judge’s ruling had to be made by Friday, the day when sample ballots headed to the printer.

“The final drafts were due to the Registrar today, so it was important to have it resolved as soon as possible,” Garcia said.

Taliaferro said he doesn’t think his information was wrong based on his calculations, but he’s glad the matter is resolved.

“We would have liked to have it turn out a bit better, but the main thing now is we’re moving forward,” he said.

If the utility users tax is repealed, the city will have to cut $17.5 million from city services, which include the local police and fire departments.

The tax has been on the books since 1969.

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian


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