Lawsuit Filed to Repeal SDSU West Signatures
The balls are out of the bag.
It has been several weeks since San Diego City Council member Scott Sherman sent a memo to City Attorney Mara Elliott, requesting additional clarification regarding the SDSU West Campus Research Center, Stadium and River Park Initiative.
Sherman's memo asked several questions regarding the liability of the City of San Diego, potential conflicts of interest or violations of California Government Code by Jack McGrory who sits on the board of Trustees of the California State University and is also a sponsor of the SDSU West Initiative, and cited section 89005.5 of the State of California Education Code that expressly prohibits parties (like the Friends of SDSU) from using the name of any Cal State school or property.
“No person shall, without the permission of the Trustees of the California State University, use this name, or any abbreviation of it or any name of which these words are a part, in any of the following ways:
To designate any business, social, political, religious, or other organization, including, but not limited to, any corporation, firm, partnership, association, group, activity, or enterprise.
To imply, indicate, or otherwise suggest that any product, service, or organization is connected or affiliated with, or is endorsed, favored, or supported by, or is opposed by the Trustees of the California State University or any educational institution administered by the trustees. The permission of the trustees is required before any name listed in this subdivision may be used for any commercial purpose.”
To my knowledge, there has been no reply to Sherman’s inquiry to date, but there has certainly been activity elsewhere around the city.
Today, two citizens have filed suit against Elizabeth Maland in her official capacity as the City of San Diego City Clerk, and Michael Vu in his official capacity as San Diego County Registrar of Voters, City Council of the City of San Diego seeking to ensure that the letter and spirit of the law is upheld. The suit also names the Friends of SDSU, Jack McGrory and Stephen P. Doyle.
The lawsuit seeks to enforce the educational code and prohibit the use of the name of San Diego State University by the Friends of SDSU. Under this suit, the Friends themselves would need to change their name. The lawsuit calls into question the validity of a number of apparent inconsistencies with the SDSU West Initiative, and cites analysis by the City Attorney's office that lays out the differences between what the proponents of the SDSU West Initiative are promising alongside what the language of the initiative actually commits to law.
The lawsuit seeks no monetary concession form the city of San Diego. It does however, ask that the signatures gathered for the SDSU West Campus Research Center, Stadium and River Park Initiative be invalidated since they were secured under false pretenses.
If this suit is successful, the SDSU West Campus Research Center, Stadium and River Park Initiative itself would need to be re-written and re-circulated if it is to re-gather the requisite number of signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.
The first time around, it took signature gatherers just under three months to collect the roughly 100,000 scribbles needed for the Registrar to confirm the 10% of registered voters approved of the initiative. If the Friends act quickly, there is enough time to repeat the feat before the deadline to submit ballot initiatives later this summer in time for November's election.
If those signatures are not gathered in time, it is highly likely that the competing SoccerCity Initiative that seeks to redevelop the same SDCCU Stadium site will stand alone on the ballot, conceivably with a higher chance of being voted in.