Final Judgment Rules Measure R Illegal

Malibu City Hall

Measure R has officially been ruled illegal by a judge of the California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, City Attorney Christi Hogin reported Tuesday evening.

The judgment, announced in December 2015, was finalized late in the day Tuesday and the late-breaking news came just minutes before The Malibu Times went to print.

Hogin reported that Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles Judge James C. Chalfant signed the judgment Tuesday, giving the city 60 days to determine whether or not it will launch an appeal of the decision.

Chalfant also gave Measure R proponents who applied to intervene in the case permission to do so, meaning they have the legal ability to step in and appeal the ruling, should the city determine it will not.

The judge’s ruling broke down into four pieces:

1. The proponents of Measure R — Michele Reiner, Dru Ann Dixon-Jacobson and Carol Moss — are granted permission to intervene and may appeal if they decide to.

2. Measure R is not in effect during the appeal.

3. The court declined to order that the City of Malibu enforce Measure R during the appeal, but gave interveners 10 days to see if a court of appeals will order the city to enforce the ordinance.

4. The judge signed the judgment and the city has 60 days to decide on appealing it.

The judge’s final decision came less than 24 hours after a second stalled Malibu Planning Commission meeting failed to move forward a potential Measure R replacement ordinance that would put limitations on chain stores in the Malibu Civic Center.

The fact that Measure R will not be in effect during the appeal was a legal relief to Hogin, who worried about the implications of enforcing a law ruled to be illegal.

“That whole time we [would be] knowingly violating people’s due process rights, so I was worried about that,” Hogin said.

“The court answered it by saying that the injunction is prohibitory. It’s the kind of injunction that is not stayed on appeal, so the only way that the city would be able to enforce Measure R was if a court affirmatively allowed us to.” 

In other words, an appeals court would have to give express permission to the city to enforce Measure R, which interveners have 10 days to request.

The suit against Measure R was filed by lawyers representing local developers Malibu Bay Company and The Park at Cross Creek, including developer Steve Soboroff.

Late Tuesday, Soboroff gave a statement to The Malibu Times during a brief phone interview, during which he was asked whether the controversial Whole Foods in the Park project, struck down by voters in November operating under Measure R, will proceed since Measure R is no longer in effect.

“We’ve always been proceeding. We’ve gotten EIR approval, Coastal Commission approval, Planning Commission approval and City Council approval over a period of five years, so we’re moving forward,” Soboroff said. “The judge said again today that Measure R is unconstitutional. Unconstitutional means things are not legal; Measure R is not legal.”

There was no news Tuesday regarding whether interveners Reiner, Dixon-Jacobson and Moss have formally decided to launch an appeal of the judge’s decision.

“They have a right to pursue an appeal independent of the city,” Hogin explained.

Reiner, Dixon-Jacobson and Moss could not be reached for comment by The Malibu Times deadline.