Judge Orders False Language to be Removed From Ballot Arguments
Cupertino, Calif. (September 8, 2016) – The No on C Yes on D – Cupertino Neighbors, Educators, and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce for the Sensible and Sustainable Revitalization of Vallco today announced that the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled that three ballot argument statements submitted by Steven Scharf, Anne Brooke Ezzat, Xiangchen Xu and Aravind Balakrishnan are “false and/or misleading.” The ruling stated that “The Court cannot allow the factually inaccurate statements to stand,” therefore all three statements will be removed from the Measure C ballot arguments and refrained from use on all future election materials.
“This ruling confirms that Measure C’s proponents are knowingly misleading Cupertino residents with untrue statements,” said Sandra James, Community Outreach manager for The Hills at Vallco project, a local non-profit executive and former Cupertino Mayor and Councilwoman. “The facts are clear – Measure C will change the character of Cupertino’s neighborhoods by raising their maximum building height limit to four stories, just as it will block the revitalization of Vallco.”
The Court’s ruling found the statements were “factually inaccurate” and “distinct from typical hyperbole” and cannot be allowed to stand because “voters would be subject to undue confusion” over Measure C’s increase of building heights in Cupertino neighborhoods, specifically stating that “the plain language of Measure C makes it clear that building heights in Neighborhoods may be raised to a maximum building height of 45 feet.” Further, the Court found that “By clear and convincing evidence, all three of the subject’s statements are objectively untrue and inconsistent with the language of the Ballot Question and City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis for Measure C and thus are misleading and confusing.” In addition, the Court stated that “There is no First Amendment right to include false or misleading information in an initiative petition.”
“The proponents of Measure C attempted to mislead voters in the ballot arguments by saying their initiative would cap building heights at 30 feet, while the very language in the initiative states it would raise building heights to 45 feet,” said Michael Chang, PhD, a petitioner in the case, a No on C and Yes on D consultant, and former Cupertino Mayor and Councilman. “This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and is downright illegal to lie to the public about an initiative in the voter guides.”
Two separate Santa Clara County Superior Court Judges have independently ruled that Measure C will raise building heights in Cupertino’s residential neighborhoods to 45 feet, or four stories. In addition, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the case and denied an emergency appeal from Measure C sponsors on the issue. The court rulings all support the conclusions of the City of Cupertino, the City’s outside legal counsel, and third party independent experts, who have each determined that Measure C increases building heights in residential neighborhoods, negatively impacting 75 percent of the city.
In addition, Measure C will prohibit a revitalization of Vallco and force the mall to remain in its current dilapidated state. The Vallco Town Center Specific Plan Initiative, Measure D on Cupertino’s November ballot, will bring The Hills at Vallco, a vibrant redevelopment of Vallco to life. A mixed-use Town Center designed with the wants and needs of Cupertino residents in mind, Measure D will bring about retail, dining and entertainment options, a 30-acre rooftop Community Park and Nature Area, new housing units including those specifically designated for seniors, and over $130 million in investments in transportation, affordable housing and education, and much more. Measure D will also deliver the largest package of community benefits in the City’s history.
To learn more about Measure D and The Hills at Vallco, please visit RevitalizeVallco.com.