Kathy Griffin, The Brentwood Press, September 19, 2019
Editor: Brentwood Alliance Against Measure L would like to inform the public what really happened after Bob Nunn sued our campaign over one rebuttal statement regarding school funding, the statements you’ll see in your official ballot pamphlet.
TBW Media’s press release states, a “judge orders change to Measure L rebuttal,” with quotes from Annette Beckstrand and Carlos Sanabria making the press release basically a ‘Yes on Measure L’ unpaid ad. Neither of these two were in the judge’s chambers Friday, Sept. 6, as was my team, and neither of them were involved in the stipulated agreement between Bob Nunn and the Brentwood Alliance Against Measure L signatories.
Therefore, this press release inaccurately reported what transpired, prompting me to write this piece.
On Thursday morning, Sept. 5, our five rebuttal argument signatories were served with legal papers to appear in Martinez Court the very next day, Friday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. The reason: a challenge to one ballot argument rebuttal statement we made about school funding in our official submission to the City of Brentwood City Clerk, Margaret Wimberly. You can imagine our shock and dismay in this action, but we sprang into action securing an exceptional election and ballot argument attorney, Stuart Flashman of Oakland.
Luckily, he was available and able to guide us in this unprecedented challenge. Although our ballot argument was written in good faith, and to the best of our knowledge, based on meetings with both school superintendents, our proponents chose to sue us over the language.
We have formulated our ballot arguments based on the 9212 report, the draft EIR, as well as the information in their 193-page initiative. Each side had many ballot arguments in our initial statements and in our rebuttals. We, too, thought many of their ballot statements were questionable, but we don’t have the money nor the legal team to make a case of it. We feel the next 60 days communicating the details of their 193-page Measure L will speak for themselves.
This project is a bad, unnecessary deal for Brentwood. Here are the two statements, both initial and revised that will now be printed in the ballot pamphlet for your review. We’ll let you decide the difference, if any:
Original: “School funding is allocated based on student attendance, so homes without students do not create any ongoing revenue.”
Revised and accepted by Bob Nunn ahead of court date: “Brentwood’s state-mandated LCFF funding formula is based on school attendance. Homes without students won’t help with that.”
Contrary to their press release, Superior Court Judge Steven Austin made no ruling on Bob Nunn’s allegation that the rebuttal argument submitted by Brentwood Alliance Against Measure L was false or misleading. Nunn actually asked a paragraph of the rebuttal argument be deleted entirely. Instead, at Judge Austin’s insistence on Sept. 6, attorneys for Measure L’s supporters and opponents, working together all weekend, clarified the statement in the rebuttal argument and came up with a modified statement that was factually accurate and still reflected one of the many reasons that the Brentwood Alliance opposes the measure.
The two attorneys submitted a joint request that the judge have the elections office change the ballot argument accordingly, which he gladly signed. Judge Austin signed the documents acknowledging the matter was resolved in his court; he made no ruling or decision on the ballot wording itself at all.
It’s only Bob Nunn who thought the statement was false and misleading.
While the developers who wrote Measure L claim it will provide millions of dollars to Brentwood schools, the fact is under the state’s mandated school funding formula (the so-called LCFF), Brentwood schools will get exactly the same amount of funding, regardless of whether the senior or common market housing is build in their project.
Either the money for schools comes from property taxes or it’s contributed by the state – it’s still the same amount of mandated money guaranteed to schools.