An Orange County judge reaffirmed an earlier decision Monday in ruling that Councilman Cameron Cosgrove was legally elected to his post less than two years ago.
"It changes what was just a tentative ruling," said Cosgrove's attorney, Stephen Coontz. "This is the final decision for the court and it means that there is no additional room for argument." Opposing attorney Thomas M. Jones, however, said an appeal is possible. He said he must still check with his clients.
The argument revolved around whether a voter initiative, Measure D, was binding on the 1988 race, since it passed during the same election. That measure stated that in certain council elections, voters could petition to force a new election.
The measure applies when an incumbent council member is elected mayor, leaving a vacancy on the council. That happened in 1988, when Larry Agran was elected to the mayor's post, leaving his seat on the council open.
Under the City Charter, Cosgrove was appointed to fill Agran's unfinished term because he had finished third in the race, in which two seats were filled. Under Measure D, a candidate in Cosgrove's position could be challenged if 7% of the voters petitioned for a new election.
Cosgrove's challengers argued that his post could be challenged, because he was sworn in after the law went into effect.
But Judge Claude Owens reaffirmed an earlier ruling that the contention of Cosgrove's challengers was unreasonable.