ELECTION UPDATE—State Supreme Court declines to hear election suit

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March 2, 1 p.m. – In a 5-2 decision, the State Supreme Court issued a notice Wednesday that it would not hear a citizens group’s lawsuit against the city that challenged Councilmember Sharon Barovsky’s eligibility to run for another term.

“I’m relieved that the court has ruled,” Barovsky said. “Now, I hope the campaign can move forward and we can discuss our accomplishments, our goals and our vision for Malibu.”

The citizens group filed its suit in January shortly after City Clerk Lisa Pope certified Barovsky as eligible for the 2006 council race. The group said Barovsky could not run for another term because she would be termed-out in April by the city law that limits council members to two terms. Barovsky served a partial term from 2000 to 2002 after the death of her husband, Harry Barovsky, and then was elected to a full term in 2002 that will conclude in April. To support its argument, the group looked to an impartial analysis written by then-City Attorney Richard Terzian that appeared on the ballot in 2000 when voters approved term limits. It stated that a partial term counts as a full term. The actual law does not say anything about partial terms.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs sided with the citizens group on Feb. 3. But a three-judge panel from the Court of Appeal’s 2nd District overturned her ruling the next week.

“I still believe I am 100 percent correct,” said Richard Carrigan, who headed the citizens group. “I believe it more strongly now than when this process started more than a month ago because I’ve had time to study the law and the documents associated with the case, including all the briefs. The system’s not perfect. I respect the court system, but I think they made a mistake here.”

-Jonathan Friedman