A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered backers of a $500-million development plan for the Dana Point Headlands to stop using "Save the Headlands" and similar phrases in their campaign literature.
Judge Richard W. Luesebrink also barred the proponents from using "Save the Dana Point Headlands" and "Save Dana Point Headlands" in literature asking voters to approve Measure C and Measure D on the Nov. 8 city ballot.
The measures would allow a 400-room hotel and a maximum of 370 homes to be built on the 121-acre Headlands promontory near Dana Point Harbor.
Project opponents organized under a committee called Save the Headlands had filed suit arguing that proponents were confusing the voters.
"They confused the voters because they knew they couldn't win on the plan's merits," said Elinor R. Orlandella, an attorney and member of Save the Headlands. "The only way they can win is to confuse people into thinking that they can save the Headlands by voting 'yes.' "
A representative of the Headlands Fair Plan Committee, which supports the development, said that the judge's order violates First Amendment rights and that an appeal will be filed.
"I am absolutely dumbfounded," said Jeff Adler, a committee spokesman. "A judge is sitting in Santa Ana telling me I can't say the words 'save the Headlands.' I think it's my right."
A "yes" vote on measures C and D will approve the plan as passed by the City Council in April. A "no" vote will stop the project, but it could go back before the council for reconsideration.
Since the 1940s, the Headlands have been owned by the M.H. Sherman Co. and Chandis Securities Co. Chandis Securities, a firm that oversees the financial holdings of the Chandler family, is a major stockholder of Times Mirror Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times.