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Court of Appeal of California, Fifth Appellate District
December 17, 2020, Opinion Filed
SNAUFFER, J.—In the November 2018 general election, 52.17 percent of Fresno voters voted for Measure P, a voter initiative measure entitled the “Fresno Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Tax Ordinance.”1 The City of Fresno (the City) filed a complaint for declaratory relief to establish whether Measure P has been duly enacted through the voters' initiative power. The City's complaint named as defendant Fresno Building Healthy Communities (FBHC), a nonprofit corporation that supported Measure P, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (the Association) also intervened as a defendant. The same day the City filed its action, FBHC filed its own complaint for declaratory relief and petition for writ of mandate, seeking a declaration Measure P had been duly enacted. The City was named as respondent and the Association intervened, and each filed an answer to FBHC's action.
The Association filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings in the City's action, arguing Measure P is invalid because it imposed a special tax approved by less than two-thirds [**9] of the voting electorate. The Association relied on provisions placed in the California Constitution by Proposition 13 (in 1978) and Proposition 218 (in 1996), “which both require a two-thirds vote of the electorate to approve certain taxes adopted by local governments.” (City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in Matter of Proposition C (2020) 51 Cal.App.5th 703, 708 [265 Cal. Rptr. 3d 437], review den. Sept. 9, 2020, S263753 (All Persons); see Cal. Const., arts. XIII A, § 4, XIII C, § 2, subd. (d).)2 The trial court granted the Association's motion for judgment on the pleadings without leave to amend, agreeing with the Association that the relevant provisions of Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 require a two-thirds vote of the electorate for passage of a voter initiative that [*226] imposes a special tax. Judgment was entered in the City's action, and the parties stipulated and the superior court ordered that its ruling in the City's case be incorporated into a final judgment in FBHC's case. FBHC appeals from both judgments. As both cases involve the same parties, facts, and legal issues, we have consolidated the cases.
After FBHC filed its opening brief, the First District Court of Appeal filed its opinion in All Persons, supra, 51 Cal.App.5th 703. There, the First District was presented exactly the same questions presented here, namely, whether Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 require a two-thirds vote of the electorate for passage of a voter initiative that imposes a special tax. [**10] In that case, the City and County of San Francisco filed a petition for declaratory relief asking for a determination that a special tax initiative that received 61 percent of the vote be declared passed. (All Persons, supra, 51 Cal.App.5th at p. 708.) The trial court granted the City and County of San Francisco's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and the First District affirmed. (Id. at pp. 708–709.) The First District ultimately concluded neither Proposition 13 nor Proposition 218 affects the voters' initiative power, and therefore neither imposes a two-thirds voting requirement on the passage of voter initiatives that impose special taxes. (All Persons, at pp. 708–709.) We fully agree with and endorse the holdings and reasoning of All Persons, and find that case controls the outcome here. We reverse, and in doing so we quote liberally from All Persons.
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59 Cal. App. 5th 220 *; 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 1265 **; 273 Cal. Rptr. 3d 144
CITY OF FRESNO, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. FRESNO BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, Defendant and Appellant; HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYER ASSOCIATION, Intervener and Respondent.FRESNO BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CITY OF FRESNO, Defendant and Respondent; HOWARD JARVIS TAXPAYER ASSOCIATION, Intervener and Respondent.
Notice: As modified Dec. 30, 2020.
Subsequent History: Time for Granting or Denying Review Extended Fresno v. Fresno Building Healthy Communities; Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., 2021 Cal. LEXIS 2262 (Cal., Mar. 19, 2021)
Review denied by City of Fresno v. Fresno Building Healthy Communities, 2021 Cal. LEXIS 2282 (Cal., Mar. 30, 2021)
Prior History: APPEAL from judgments of the Superior Court of Fresno County, No. 19CECG00422 and 19CECG00432, Kimberly A. Gaab [**1] , Judge.
City of Fresno v. Fresno Building Healthy Communities, 58 Cal. App. 5th 884, 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 1199, 2020 WL 7395997 (Dec. 17, 2020)
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