Press Release

Friday, July 22, 2005

Contact: Michael Bustamante (916) 425-0839
Antonio Gonzalez (323) 222-2217

Courts Rule in Opposition to Proponents of Reapportionment Initiative
Initiative Must be Removed From Ballot; Velasquez Institute, Attorney General, Successfully Defend Voters’ Rights

LOS ANGELES, CA – Siding with California’s Attorney General and with similar issues raised in a suit filed by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) and the Congress on Racial Equality, California Chapter Legal Defense and Education Fund (CORE-CA/LDEF), a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that proponents of a reapportionment initiative, Proposition 77, could not place its measure before voters on the November 8, 2005 ballot. In her ruling, Judge Gail Ohanesian ruled that the initiative could not go forward because the wording circulated on voter petitions had not been approved according to law, a key provision of the WCVI and CORE-CA/LDEF suit.

“Reapportionment proponents wanted us to believe their mistake didn’t make a material difference,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a Latino-oriented policy and think tank. “Thankfully for the voters, the court could not have been more clear that the ‘bait and switch tactics’ we allege in our complaint by proponents were significant enough to disqualify the initiative.”

Specifically, the court ruled that “…there is no good reason to put the courts in the position of having to decide what is good enough for qualifying an initiative measure for the ballot when actual compliance is easily attainable. The procedures in question are clear and well know and easily followed.”

While the court did not rule specifically on the lawsuit filed by the Velasquez Institute and CORE-CA/LDEF, it did address the issues raised by WCVI’s attorneys which were similar issues raised by the Attorney General. It is unclear whether the court will address the WCVI filing.

About the William C. Velasquez Institute

The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985. The purpose of WCVI is to: conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; To provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; To inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; To inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.

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