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South Bay Digest

Hermosa Beach : Hotel Election Ruled Valid

August 14, 1986

The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles has ruled that the June, 1985, city election on a controversial $31-million beachfront hotel was valid. The decision allows construction of the project unless a separate challenge to the election results succeeds.

In July, 1984, the City Council voted to allow the hotel development on The Strand between 13th and 15th streets. Opponents petitioned for a special referendum election, which was held the following December. The hotel was rejected.

City officials and developers David Greenwood and Joe Langlois redesigned the project, and the council voted to call a special initiative election for June 11, 1985.

In May, 1985, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Cole ruled that the June election should not be held because it fell too close to the one in December, violating a state law that two such elections may not be held on the same issue within 12 months.

The state appellate court reversed Judge Cole's decision, saying the law applied only to two successive initiative elections.

(A referendum allows people to vote on laws already approved by a legislative body. An initiative is for new legislation and can be introduced by either legislators or the voters.)

City Atty. James P. Lough views the decision as a major victory for proponents of the development.

Sheila Donahue Miller, attorney for and member of the Referendum Committee of Hermosa Beach, opponents of the proposed developments, said she does not view the recent decision as a setback, but just another step in a long legal battle. The committee has not decided whether to appeal the decision, she said.

Before construction may begin, the Court of Appeal also has to rule on several challenged votes that could change the one-vote victory proponents now claim.

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