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News in Brief: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Sierra Madre

Suit Accuses City Officials of Violating Election Law

March 24, 1998

A Sierra Madre attorney filed a complaint with a state political watchdog agency Monday alleging that the city violated elections law by distributing a mailing about an April ballot measure that proposes to remove historic designation for 29 properties.

Steve Broiles sent the complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission after city officials told The Times last week that they spent $7,000 to send the mailing to every registered voter in the foothill community.

In his letter, Broiles alleged that the mailing violated a state law forbidding mass mailings at public expense. He wrote that it also violated a law banning the expenditure of public funds to promote council members and candidates for public office.

City officials denied the allegations, saying they were only seeking to inform the public about a complex issue.

The mailing contained a letter from the city manager explaining that the council has passed a law "clarifying" the language of the measure, which had already been printed on ballots. As it appears on the ballot, the measure could be interpreted as lifting all restrictions on the homes, City Manager John Davidson said.

The new law states that the measure would lift the historic designation from the homes, but makes clear that the properties would still be subject to zoning restrictions.

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