The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday not to hinder the legal efforts of a Valencia resident who wants the county to print a supplemental sample election ballot containing his group's reasons for opposing cityhood in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Anthony J. Skirlick Jr., a member of Citizens Against Cityhood, intends to ask a Superior Court judge today to order the county to print a supplemental sample ballot to be mailed to the 47,000 or more registered voters living within the proposed city.
In requesting the court's intercession, Skirlick contends that the county did not give residents enough time to submit their cityhood arguments to the office of the county's registrar-recorder for publication in the official sample ballot.
Acting without an attorney, Skirlick filed a lawsuit against the county Sept. 17, but he never requested a temporary restraining order preventing the county from mailing its sample ballot.
Registered voters began receiving sample ballots in the mail this week, to help them decide Nov. 3 whether 110,000 residents in a large part of the Santa Clarita Valley will become residents of the county's 85th city.
At the supervisors' meeting Tuesday, Skirlick said he objected to the county's sample ballot because it only contains statements from cityhood supporters.
County officials said only cityhood backers met the Aug. 11 deadline, dictated by state election law, for submission of pro-and-con arguments. The Board of Supervisors, after weeks of delays, scheduled the election date at its Aug. 6 meeting.
"There is not one iota, not one scintilla of opposition in that 25-page sample ballot I got," said Skirlick, an air-traffic controller. "In fact, it's just one big argument for it. I believe the Board of Supervisors has the responsibility to the opponents to publish 40,000 of these on the thinnest paper possible so we have an opportunity to be heard on this ballot argument."
Philip H. Hickok, principal deputy county counsel, said he did not yet know how much it would cost to print another round of ballots.
No Legal Blocks
The board voted to instruct the county counsel not to torpedo the litigation by pointing out any technical flaws in the lawsuit. Supervisors Pete Schabarum, Deane Dana and Ed Edelman voted in favor of the emergency motion. Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, abstained.
Schabarum, a cityhood opponent, added what he called a "preamble" to the motion. "The opportunity for all parties to have their views expressed in this matter was not adequately given," he said. "Such opportunities shall be so provided."
Skirlick said he is delighted at the Board of Supervisors' vote not to interfere in his suit. "The whole purpose of the lawsuit was to focus attention on the opposition," he said. "I didn't really expect to win."
If a judge orders a new round of sample ballots, the county will request that arguments on both sides of the cityhood issues be printed, Hickok said. That way, he said, the county would not appear to be taking sides.
Although the deadlines were tight for candidacy filings and sample-ballot submissions, no one except Skirlick complained, Hickok noted.