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Lawndale Seeks to Settle Fight Over Initiative Out of Court

December 20, 1987

The Lawndale City Council, faced with a lawsuit challenging its decision not to put an initiative petition's exact language on the April 12 ballot, decided Thursday to seek an out-of-court agreement on the wording.

The initiative, which qualified for the ballot with more than the necessary 841 signatures, would require voter approval for public development or redevelopment projects costing more than $1 million. The ballot measure does not mention the city's disputed $4.2-million civic center expansion, but clearly was intended to cover it.

A court hearing is scheduled Tuesday on the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Lawndale resident Nancy J. Marthens. She will ask the court to compel the city to adopt the petition's ballot language.

City Atty. David J. Aleshire said the petition language is "vague" and "misleading," and proposed alternative language at Thursday's council meeting. But Marthens' attorney, A. D. (Jack) Allen, said in an interview that Aleshire's proposal is "a toothless substitute" for the original language.

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