For Immediate Release: 3/23/2022
California Supreme Court Denies Review of Measure M Case – Trial and Appellate Court Rulings that Measure M Is Unconstitutional Stand. Schipske Says as City Attorney She Will Implement “Legal Exposure Reduction Committee” With Strategies to Prevent Future Claims and Lawsuits.
City Attorney candidate, Gerrie Schipske, today announced that the California Supreme Court has denied the request of the City of Long Beach for review of the case Lejiins vs. City of Long Beach. The case was heard at both trial and appellate levels which held that Measure M, a ballot measure that levied a 12% assessment on the City’s Water Department and passed along the assessment to ratepayers, was unconstitutional.
“The courts made it crystal clear that Measure M was unconstitutional,” explained Schipske, reminding that the court specifically said “Voter approval of Measure M… does not rescue the City from an independent constitutional violation…”
The case was handled by Benink & Slavens, whom Schipske had contacted in 2018 when the City proposed Measure M. “I felt that Measure M was illegal just as was the imposition of fees on city pipelines that were passed along to ratepayers. You cannot raise water rates to pay for anything but water related services.”
Schipske says that she appreciates the expertise of Benink & Slavens and their dedication to the premise that ”local governments are not above the law and California taxpayers need protecting from unscrupulous local government spending.”
Schipske added that the ruling should be instructive to the City Attorney, particularly since the Mayor and City Council were allowed to send out flyers and emails to voters that did not provide accurate information. These communications assured voters that Measure M was “not a tax,” the transfer of funds “would be taken from surplus,” and “would not raise water rates.” None of that was legally correct.
When asked what she will do differently as City Attorney, Gerrie Schipske responded, “I will create a ‘Legal Exposure Reduction Committee’ that will establish an annual Citywide and departmental legal exposure reduction goal; create proactive City Attorney procedures to advise departments on various methods to reduce legal costs; create procedures to discuss areas of potential exposure; develop and implement specific strategies calculated to prevent future claims and lawsuits; provide updated training on new changes in laws and policies for each appropriate department to implement; assess the efficacy of corrective action plans; review management training and implementation of City policies; review lessons learned; discuss areas of potential exposure; and report annually on their progress and efforts.”