September 1, 2012 11:43 pm
By Paul Rogers
In what could turn out to be one of the costliest clerical errors in California history, a two-word mistake is threatening to bring down a half-billion-dollar tax measure scheduled for the November ballot in Silicon Valley.
When the Santa Clara Valley Water District turned in ballot language this month to elections officials to place a $548 million parcel tax before voters, the summary of the measure was 77 words.
Under election law, however, summaries can be no more than 75 words.
When elections officials alerted the water district about the error, the district rushed to hold a board meeting and approved a new measure, this time with two fewer words.
The trouble is, the district didn’t post a public agenda of the Aug. 8 meeting on its website, or send it out to the media, 24 hours ahead of time as required under California’s open meetings law, the Brown Act. It missed those deadlines by less than an hour.
And late Friday, lawyers for a taxpayer group sent a letter to the district threatening a lawsuit unless they pulled the measure off the ballot.
Read the rest of the story here.
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