Noel Weiss As Attorney – Angelenos Win

In City Policy, Solar Measure B on January 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Opponents of Solar Measure B – the solar energy “plan” approved by the mayor and city council for inclusion on the March 3 ballot – asked all City Attorney candidates to help them defend against the lawsuit brought by the mayor’s allies.

The lawsuit was intended to prevent the opponents from stating their position in the official ballot booklet that educates the public to the issues, both pro and con.

I was willing to take the time and work with the group, the Solar 8.  It included DWP board president Nick Patsaouras, now a candidate for city controller, and former Los Angeles Daily News editor Ron Kaye.

Here’s how it went in court, as told in articles reporting on the case in CityWatch and the LA Times:

“… Mitchell Schwartz, a political strategist who staged Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 2005 inaugural gala, had asked the judge to take out wording in the voter pamphlet warning that the solar plan would give a monopoly to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union that represents employees at the city’s Department of Water and Power…”

“Those who signed the argument against Measure B accused allies of the mayor of using expensive lawyers to squelch the opposition’s political views. After Schwartz went to court, signers of the ballot argument hired a lawyer – city attorney candidate Noel Weiss – and dubbed themselves “the Solar 8″ …”

In his tentative ruling, [Judge] Yaffe also refused to remove language that warned that “no competitive bidding” would be used by the solar program. And he declined to take out wording that warned that the DWP would use “outdated technology” for the initiative. “The judge did the right thing” Weiss said…

The judge’s mind was made up in advance of the hearing and City Attorney candidate Noel Weiss – who came to the rescue of the Solar 8…” [emphasis mine].

By wanting to censor the opposing argument, the pro Solar Prop B. side, in effect, attempted to squelch the voice of all Angelenos.

Whether you are for or against Measure B, we can all agree that freedom of speech is a key component of democracy, and in the case of ballot arguments, both sides should be able to present their arguments so that Angelenos can make an informed decision on March 3.

With my knowledge of the law and my commitment to the public interest I will fight for all Angelenos as City Attorney just as I fought for the opponents of Solar Measure B.

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