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Judge rules against City; Blocks certification of Measure C

Lawsuit by Riversiders Against Increased Taxes successful: Certification of Measure C blocked

On Tuesday, a judge ruled against the City of Riverside and blocked the certification of Measure C, finding that its inclusion in a November 2021 special election violated a state law requiring local governments to include tax measures only in general elections. The measure, which allows the city to charge ratepayers more than it costs to provide electricity, generates about $40 million each year. The city then transfers the Measure C surplus into the general fund, where it is used to pay for police, fire, and other city services.

In his ruling, Judge Harold Hopp agreed with the plaintiffs, Riversiders Against Increased Taxes, that “the election was a special one, not a general one, and that this did not comply” with the requirements of Proposition 218.

The proposition, passed in 1996, stipulates that tax measures can only be placed on the ballot in a general election, when voter participation is normally higher, instead of in a special election, which typically have lower turnout. Measure C passed with 54 percent of the vote in an election with an estimated 18 percent turnout.

A statement released by City of Riverside Public Information Officer Phil Pitchford read, “The City of Riverside is in receipt of (the) Court’s minute order. The City will be evaluating the Court’s decision, upon receipt, evaluating its options, and seeking further direction from the Mayor and City Council at the appropriate time.”