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Beverly Hills News – Basement Ordinance Prevails; Signatures Come up Short

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2018 – 3:19 PM

By Victoria Talbot

In a letter from the Beverly Hills City Clerk today, Byron Pope certified that there are insufficient signatures on the petition for a referendum to rescind the Basement Ordinance. The Ordinance stands. To qualify, the petition required the signatures of 10% of the City’s registered voters, and it fell 25 signatures short.

The letter states the following:

“I, Byron Pope, City Clerk of the City of Beverly Hills, do hereby certify pursuant to Section 9240 of the Elections Code of the State of California, to the following facts relating to Referendum Against An Ordinance Passed By The City Council – Ordinance No. 18-O-2751, An Ordinance of the City of Beverly Hills Revising Regulations Related to Basements in Single Family Areas of the City and Grading and Retaining Walls in the Hillside Area of the City and finding the Ordinance Exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act. 

“On April 11, 2018, a Referendum Petition was filed with the City Clerk’s Office of the City of Beverly Hills by Bradley W. Hertz. Esq. with The Sutton Law Firm authorized by Branden Williams. Further, on April 11, 2018, the last report filed January 2, 2018 from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office confirmed to the Secretary of State that there are 20,795 registered voters in the City of Beverly Hills. The petition must have a minimum of 2,080 signatures (10% of the registered voters in the City) to qualify for filing. The petition was circulated for signatures between the period of March 12, 2018 and April 11, 2018.

“Pursuant to Section 9240 of the Elections Code of the State of California, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, at the request of the Beverly Hills City Clerk, examined the petition and determined that the petition is not signed by 10 percent of the registered voters of the City. Based on the County of Los Angeles Registrar of Voters’ Signature Verification Certificate, attached hereto, I have determined the following facts regarding this petition:

1. Total number of signatures filed:  2.962

2. Total number of signature withdrawal requests received and filed: 13

3. Total number of signatures withdrawn: 10

4. Total number of signatures verified: 2,952

5. Total number of signatures found sufficient: 2,065

6. Total number os signatures found not sufficient: 897

7. Total number of signatures not sufficient because of duplicate: 35

Based on the above, I certify that the number of valid signatures on the petition is 2,055 which is 9.88% of the registered voters and therefore the petition is deemed insufficient. Accordingly, the results of the examination are hereby certified. “

The letter is signed by Byron Pope, City Clerk, and dated May 4, 2018.

Resident Debbie Weiss, who became an activist in support of the Basement Ordinance and against the referendum in support of her home and neighborhood on Loma Linda Drive, was speechless.

Local Attorney Ronald Richards, who represents several homeowners in the Hillside Area where he lives, said, “It is not a shocker that another project that was sponsored by a admitted agent of Francisco Aquilini has come forward with another large margin of error.  However, this time, the margin of error appears to be a fatal blow to the shameless attempt to cause a nuclear holocaust to our beloved Hillsides.  Notwithstanding the massive allegations of voter fraud and blatant misrepresentation of the referendum to myself and other residents, good has prevailed over evil and truth over fraud and once again, the side of righteousness has prevailed.”

In an interview Pope said that after the petitions had been filed he received 40-50 phone calls from residents who wanted to rescind their signatures. However, once filed, they were unable to take back their signatures.

Updated: Friday, May 4, 2018 – 5:40 PM

“This is fantastic news,” said Weiss in a statement. “This sends a strong message that a Referendum is not an effective way to skirt the rules. I have no doubt the codes will be adjusted so that this amount of deception in order to obtain signatures will never be allowed again. I always believed that had the residents known the true nature of the Basement Ordinance and the extent to which its reversal would hurt our City, a vast number of them would never have signed the Referendum petition. This belief is validated by the calls that continued to pour in to the City Clerk’s office from people wishing to rescind their signatures even after the deadline passed. The residents have worked hard to take back our City from those who look to exploit weaknesses in our codes for their own selfish gain. And we’re just getting started.”

The City Council meeting next Tuesday will provide an ordinance to exempt the project located at 1184 Loma Linda Drive from being subject to the Basement Ordinance, and extending the building permit application for a period of thirty days. 





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