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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Court Date Set in Fight Over Tobacco Money

August 18, 2000

VENTURA — A judge set a hearing date of Aug. 25 to rule on whether a fiscal analysis approved by Ventura County for inclusion with a November measure is inaccurate and biased.

Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh set the date to allow the county to submit its answer to the challenge and still have enough time to meet a printing deadline for sample ballots.

Backers of Community Memorial Hospital-sponsored Measure O, which would transfer $260 million in tobacco money from county government to seven private hospitals, filed a lawsuit challenging the measure Wednesday asking that various statements in the sample ballot be rewritten.

The lawsuit alleges the county used biased or argumentative wording, added irrelevant information and misrepresented facts.

County officials stand by the impartiality of the fiscal reports, which are to be included in booklets sent to voters, and said the hospitals are attempting to pepper the county with lawsuits.

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