City, Collin return to court over passage of Measure T
The city of South Lake Tahoe and incoming councilmember Jason Collin headed to court in Placerville on Dec. 5 to schedule a course of action following the passage of Measure T in November’s election.
The citizen-generated ballot initiative prohibits the city from “approving” or “supporting” the Tahoe Transportation District’s U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project — often referred to as the Loop Road Project. It requires all city decisions on the proposed project to be put to a residents’ vote.
Prior to the election, Collin filed a lawsuit challenging Measure T, claiming the initiative is “flawed” and an unlawful interference of the city’s authority. El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Robert Wagoner did not grant the request to have the measure pulled from the ballot.
Instead, Wagoner set a Dec. 5 status conference should the measure pass.
At the recent court appearance, a Jan. 27 date was scheduled for two motions to be presented.
The first is a motion by Collin for a preliminary injunction and declaratory relief. Collin is asking the court to not enforce the measure based on the reasons presented in his initial lawsuit.
Collin is represented by attorney Brian Hildreth of Sacramento.
South Lake Tahoe-based attorney Bruce Grego — a proponent of Measure T and one of the “real parties in interest” named in Collin’s lawsuit — will present the second motion.
Grego is seeking the court’s approval for his participation in the proceedings, as well as Laurel Ames, who was also named in the lawsuit alongside John Cefalu and the late Bill Crawford.
City attorney Tom Watson said it is difficult to speculate on what the Jan. 27 proceedings will look like, or how long this matter will take to resolve.
“The city will of course defend whatever we can find in the initiative that is defensible, and we will probably also be seeking to have the court explain what is meant by the words ‘approve’ or ‘support’ the project,” said Watson.
“Depending on what the court does after the motions, we’ll do a scheduling conference to identify a trial date or another time for motions. So if this one doesn’t solve it, then we will come back and the judge will schedule a trial date,” he added.
If its terms are upheld and defined by the judge, the amount of influence Measure T will actually have on the U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project is still uncertain, since it is a federal bi-state project, not a city project.
If eminent domain were required to obtain a property within the city, however, Tahoe Transportation District would need council approval.
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