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Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Four
July 26, 2021, Opinion Filed
TUCHER, J.—Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 amended the California Constitution to require that any special tax adopted by a local government entity take effect only if approved by a two-thirds vote of the electorate. We recently interpreted these constitutional provisions “as coexisting with, not displacing, the people's power to enact initiatives by majority vote.” (City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C (2020) 51 Cal.App.5th 703, 708 [265 Cal. Rptr. 3d 437] (Matter of Prop. [*1065] C).) In Matter of Prop. C we held that a measure placed on the ballot as a local citizens' initiative requires a majority, not a supermajority, vote to pass. (Id. at pp. 708–709.) This case raises the questions whether Matter of Prop. C was properly decided and whether it can be distinguished.
In 2018, some 60 percent of San Franciscans [**2] voting on Proposition G—an initiative measure entitled “Parcel Tax for the San Francisco Unified School District”—approved the measure. Thereafter, the City and County of San Francisco (the City) filed this action to establish that Proposition G was validly enacted. The City's complaint against “All Persons Interested” was answered by defendant Wayne Nowak, who contends that Proposition G is invalid because it failed to garner the two-thirds vote required by article XIII A, section 4 of the California Constitution1 (added by Prop. 13) and article XIII C, section 2 (added by Proposition 218), the same arguments we rejected in Matter of Prop. C. Nowak also contends that a provision of Proposition 218 unique to parcel taxes—article XIII D, section 3, subdivision (a) (article XIII D, § 3(a))—requires a two-thirds vote of the electorate to enact Proposition G. Although the argument is new, it fails for similar reasons, as does Nowak's alternative argument that an older constitutional provision precludes a per-parcel tax on real property. Finally, Nowak seeks to distinguish Matter of Prop. C on the grounds that Proposition G was conceived and promoted by local government officials and is thus not a valid citizens' initiative. We reject this argument as based on a misunderstanding of the initiative process.
Because we stand by our decision [**3] in Matter of Prop. C and reject Nowak's additional arguments, we affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the City.
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66 Cal. App. 5th 1058 *; 2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 603 **; 282 Cal. Rptr. 3d 17; 2021 WL 3140071
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. ALL PERSONS INTERESTED IN THE MATTER OF PROPOSITION G, Defendants and Appellants.
Notice: As modified Aug. 17, 2021.
Subsequent History: Modified by, Rehearing denied by City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition G, 2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 682 (Cal. App. 1st Dist., Aug. 17, 2021)
Time for Granting or Denying Review Extended City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition G, 2021 Cal. LEXIS 7437 (Cal., Oct. 20, 2021)
Review denied by, 11/17/2021
Review denied by City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in re Proposition G, 2021 Cal. LEXIS 8016 (Cal., Nov. 17, 2021)
Prior History: [**1] Superior Court of San Francisco City & County, No. CGC-18-569987, Ethan P. Schulman, Judge.
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