Sangiacomo Files Lawsuit to Remove Prop M from ballot

by Randy Shaw on August 17, 2004

The manager of Angelo Sangiacomo’s Trinity Plaza Apartments filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to remove Prop M, the Housing Preservation Initiative, from the November ballot. Manager Craig Waddle also spent last night going door to door at Trinity asking tenants to sign ballot arguments against an initiative that would keep them in their homes. The lawsuit and hardball tactics show that political consultant Jack Davis already is making his impact felt in the race.

Waddle’s lawsuit is based on the failure of the initiative petitions to include a phrase included in Section 101.5 of the Election Code. The phrase was created in 2002 by legislation sponsored by then-Assemblymember Kevin Shelley. It is set to sunset at the end of 2004, so that its presence on petitions lasted only two years.

The missing sentence tells signers that their signature cannot be used for any purpose other than to qualify the measure for the ballot, and that the misuse of their signature is a misdemeanor. There is no binding case precedent on the effect of the omission.

The City is taking no position in the lawsuit, since city officials did not prepare the portion of the petition at issue. Real Parties in Interest-Former Supervisor and Planning Commissioner Sue Bierman, Supervisor Chris Daly, and Trinity Plaza tenant leader Lolita Kintanar-have retained legal counsel who will vigorously contest the lawsuit.

The court will decide tomorrow morning when it will hear the case. The ballot handbooks go to the printer on August 31, so a court ruling must occur by then.

The Prop M campaign turned in over 19,000 signatures, nearly double the required amount. Sangiacomo’s willingness to thwart the will of these signers is typical of the take no prisoners approach that governs his and Davis’s dealings.

Waddle’s door by door solicitation of already fearful tenants has Davis’s fingerprints all over it. Davis should hope the lawsuit fails, as he has an opportunity to outdo his past successes if he can convince voters that Angelo Sangiacomo supports affordable housing.

With Davis now in charge, Mayor Newsom flew off in the Getty’s private jet for ten days in Greece visiting the Olympics. Expect to soon see a Ken Garcia column extolling Newsom for providing hope to the downtrodden of Athens.

Send feedback to rshaw@beyondchron.org

Filed under: Bay Area / California