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City Council Report


City Council Meeting: April 22, 2014

Agenda Item: 8-C

To:               Mayor and City Council

From:           Sarah Gorman, Director, Records and Election Services/City Clerk

Subject:        Certification of Qualification of Referendum Petition and Direction to City Staff



Recommended Action


Staff recommends that the City Council:

1)    receive and file the attached Certification of Qualification for a petition entitled “Referendum Against an Ordinance Passed by the City Council”, referencing Ordinance No. 2454 (CCS); and

2)     direct City Staff to prepare the necessary documents.


Executive Summary

This report recommends Council receive and file the attached Certification of Qualification for a referendum petition, and direct the City Attorney to prepare the necessary documents to either repeal Ordinance No. 2454 (CCS) entitled “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Santa Monica Approving the Development Agreement between the City of Santa Monica, a Municipal Corporation, and Hines 26th Street LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company” or submit the ordinance to a simple majority vote of the people.


The ordinance is the Development Agreement for 1681 26th St,, Santa Monica, also known as the “Bergamot Transit Village” or the “Hines Project.” The proponents have gathered enough signatures on a referendum petition to require Council to either repeal the ordinance, set the ordinance for a vote of the people on a special election between August 10 and November 4, 2014, or to set the ordinance for a vote of the people on at the Regular Municipal Election set for November 4, 2014. Following review of signatures by the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the City’s Director of Records and Elections Services has certified that the petition is sufficient.


Staff recommends that the Council receive and file this certification, that Council direct the City Staff to place on a future City Council agenda actions either to repeal the ordinance, set it for a timely Special Election, or set it for the Regular Municipal Election on November 4, 2014, with appropriate resolutions.  At that future meeting the Council would decide whether to repeal the Ordinance, call a Special Election, or place the item as a measure on the Regular Municipal Election ballot.




On March 11, 2014 , a referendum petition was filed with the City Clerk protesting the adoption of Ordinance No. 2454 (CCS), adopted by the City Council on February 11, 2014.  The petition requests the reconsideration and repeal of the ordinance by the City Council or that it be submitted to a vote of the people of Santa Monica at the next regular election, which is on November 4, 2014.


When a referendum petition is filed with the Clerk’s office, the Clerk’s office performs a prima facie review of the petition, and then sends the petition to the County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office to check to see if there are adequate validated signatures on the petition.  If there are adequate valid signatures on the petition, the Clerk’s office then certifies the petition and certifies the results of the examination to the Council at the next regular meeting. In this case, the Clerk’s office performed a prima facie review and the County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office determined that there were adequate valid signatures on the petition. The Clerk’s office has certified the petition and is now presenting the petition to Council at the next regular meeting.


California Elections Code section 9237 provides that if a petition protesting the adoption of an ordinance, circulated for signature appropriately under law, is submitted to the Clerk within 30 days of the date the ordinance is attested to, and is signed by no less than 10 percent of the City’s voters, “the effective date of the ordinance shall be suspended and the legislative body shall reconsider the ordinance.”




Because the petition contained signatures of Santa Monica registered voters in excess of the 10% requirement, the Ordinance is now suspended until repealed or a resolution declaring the result of an election is adopted. City Council action to receive and file the Certification is required. As provided for in Elections Codes section 9237 and 9241, the City Council can at a future meeting:


1.     Reconsider and Repeal Ordinance No. 2454 (CCS),

2.     If the ordinance is not entirely repealed, call a Special Election in no less than 88 days; 

3.     Place the measure on the ballot for the Regular Municipal Election to be held on November 4, 2014.


Council should direct City Staff to place these possible actions on a future City Council meeting agenda with appropriate resolutions.  Were Council to choose Option 2, calling a Special Election, that election would need to occur between August 10, 2014 and November 4, 2014.  Were the Council to choose Option 3, placing the measure on the ballot for the Regular Municipal Election to be held on November 4, 2014, the referendum measure would be an additional item on a ballot that would already contain other contests, including City Council races, County races, and State and Federal races, in addition to any other measures set for that ballot.


If the voters approve the ordinance in an election by voting against the referendum, it would take effect upon certification of those election results.  If the voters disapprove the ordinance by voting in favor of the referendum, the ordinance will continue to not be in effect. A simple majority is required to either approve or repeal the ordinance.


Once repealed or disapproved by voters, the ordinance cannot be enacted by the Council for a period of one year after the date of repeal or disapproval of the voters.


Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

There is no immediate financial impact or budget action necessary as a result of the recommended action.  Staff will return to Council with estimates for placing the measure on a Special Election or Regular Election ballot.  At this time, it appears that a Special Election would cost approximately $200,000; adding this measure to the November 4, 2014 Regular Election ballot would cost approximately $5,000.


Prepared by: Sarah Gorman, City Clerk      




Forwarded to Council:










Sarah Gorman                                               Rod Gould

Director, Records and Election Services       City Manager


Attachment: Certificate of Signature Count of Referendum Petition regarding Ordinance No. 2454 (CCS)