Measure W hearing – live

NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 4, 2016 – The hearing on the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) regarding Measure W has been transferred to the Presiding Judge,  Judge B. Scott Thomsen. Nevada County has issued a peremptory challenge against Judge Anderson.

At today’s hearing, County Counsel staff is requesting for the hearing to be scheduled at a later date. Attorney Heather Burke, for Forrest Hurd is presenting her argument, stating that the text of the ballot measure is misleading.  “the ballots have not been printed, let’s keep it that way. Then, let’s come back and hear the arguments next week.”

Deputy County Counsel Scott McLaren is requesting a delay on issuing the TRO. “The ballots won’t be ready to be sent to the printer until March 18.” He is requesting a continuance. Judge Thomsen denies the request for the continuance.

McLaren questions the argument of the petitioner, specifically the “irreparable harm” adding that a challenge on a ballot measure is oft decided after the election has taken place. Judge Thomsen states he wants to calendar the hearing on the merits of the writ for next week. Discussion on scheduling ensues.

The arguments on the merits of the TRO now resume. McLaren points out that there is no need for the ballot measure to be the same as the ordinance. “There is no likelihood in our view that they plaintiff will succeed on the merits, we request your Honor deny the TRO.”

Burke states that Measure W is highly confusing, adding County Counsel has stated repeatedly that a TRO would somehow impede the Election Office to get Measure W on the ballot. “So that means something is happening now.”

The court has not received opposition papers yet, there is a process that has to be followed, Judge Thomsen states. Today’s matter is solely to decide on the TRO. Judge Thomsen is granting the TRO, county is ordered not to proceed with printing. He makes it clear that granting the TRO is by no means an indication on how the ruling on the merits of the writ will be. He is asking if the BOS can hold a special session before the March 18 deadline.

After a brief recess, McLaren states that there is a 10-day period where the public can inspect the ballot measure, therefore the county can not submit the ballot to the printer before March 11. Burke retorts that before submitting the ballot to the printer, a whole lot of work happens. She is asking the judge to stop these workings to. McLaren asks to have the matter heard on Tuesday.

Judge Thomsen states that the “behind the scenes work” at the county is a choice by Nevada County. The court’s preference is to schedule the hearing by 9:00 am on Tuesday so as to provide a decision to the BOS at the day of their meeting. The matter will be heard at 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 8 in Department 4. 15 minutes of arguments per side only.  A decision on the merits is expected by 9:30-10:00 am that day.