Abusive Code Enforcement

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I have begun to notice a pattern in complaints about code enforcement agencies lately.

One is that certain cities (especially large charter cities) regarding what they want out of code enforcement. They used to want to use code enforcement tools to eliminate blight and come into compliance.  Now, it seems that many cities want to generate revenue from code enforcement instead of compliance.

The second pattern is that code enforcement is abusing their discretion.  In order to make money, little infractions become major code enforcement violations.  Dormant trees in the winter become unmaintained landscaping. A burnt patch of summer grass becomes lack of landscaping.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104,
Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055


HIPPA Creates No Private Right of Action for Violation of the Privacy Rule

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

When I was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, I had the unenviable task of making sense of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which is found at 45 CFR Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164. One thing that should be mentioned is this:

HIPAA itself does not provide for a private right of action, see 65 Fed.Reg. 82601 (Dec. 28, 2000)(“Under HIPAA, individuals do not have a right to court action.”)   Webb v. Smart Document Solutions, LLC (9th Cir. 2007) 499 F.3d. 1078, 1082.

There may be some relief in state unfair competition law, but not in federal law, and not as the basis for a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 case.  Therefore, it may be difficult to find an attorney, outside of a class action, to take a case if someone violates the HIPAA privacy rule.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

Don’t Believe Extrajudicial Nonsense In Fighting Code Enforcement: “Constitutionalist” Extremism

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I represent individuals and corporations in code enforcement disputes with local cities and counties.  Longtime readers of this site and my friends and colleagues know that I was a municipal (code enforcement) prosecutor for more than nine years from February 2001 to June 2010.  In that time, I not only prosecuted, criminally and administratively, code enforcement violators, I also defended the City of San Bernardino (it never came up in the City of Redlands) against people who didn’t think the law applied to them, either corporations (or much worse) individuals.  These individuals believed what they read in newsletters, and later, on the internet.  Broadly, they can be labeled as “constitutionalists,” a term I have long heard, but ill-defined.

“Constitutionalism” is related to a variety of movements in the far reaches of today’s political spectrum.  One of them is sovereign citizen movement, which the FBI defines as “a loose network of individuals living in the United States who call themselves “sovereign citizens” and believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor: They do not pay their taxes and regularly create false license plates, driver’s licenses, and even currency.”  “Sovereign Citizens A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September 2011, found online on April 19, 2012 at http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/september-2011/sovereign-citizens .

There are ways of dealing with code enforcement departments that are not following the rules: you may be able to defeat the charges in a criminal or administrative case (or an appeal of an administrative case to Superior Court), you may be able to convince Code Enforcement that they are not following the rules; you can comply with the request even if it is not technically correct.  Sometimes, you can sue for a violation of your civil rights, and possibly for inverse condemnation in the right circumstances.  “Constitutionalism” is always the wrong answer.

As a case example, in 2005, I defeated (in U.S. District Court, plaintiff attempted to appeal to the Ninth Circuit but failed to follow procedure after I became the Assistant City Attorney in Redlands) what may or may not have been a Complaint in United States District Court.  Here are some issues that I dealt with, in pertinent part from that Complaint:

Plaintiff claims the City is a corporation or political division of the State of California.  Complaint, Pg. 2, Para. 4.  Plaintiff claims the individual defendants lacked “standing to be officers, agents or employees of the City”  Id. at Para. 24.

Plaintiff claims his property is outside the regulatory authority of the City of San Bernardino.  Complaint, Pg. 9, Para. 13.  However, plaintiff does not claim that it is outside the corporate limits of the City of San Bernardino.

Plaintiff claims that the individual defendants have failed to prove that they had jurisdiction over his property.  Complaint, Pg. 9, Para. 15.  Plaintiff objected to the City’s enforcement of its laws by giving the City an “Abundant Due Process Notice.”  Plaintiff claims that the defendants did not respond to plaintiff’s “Notice.”  Complaint, Pg. 17, Para. 28.

Plaintiff alleges that code enforcement is void under California law.  Complaint, Pgs. 10-11, Para.18.  Plaintiff also claims that the defendants have failed to swear an oath.  Plaintiff states that the defendants “lack . . . competent jurisdiction to regulate the subject private land.”  Complaint, Pg. 17, Para. 30.

Though plaintiff alleges no facts regarding what the City did (or did not do) that caused him to serve the “Abundant Due Process Notice,” plaintiff states that “on or about March 1, 2005, the City again threatened an Administrative Law action against the subject private land.”  Complaint, Pg. 17, Para.29.  Much later, plaintiff alleges that “on March 5, 2005, the City of San Bernardino again attempted to have him bring the use of his private land into compliance of the San Bernardino City Municipal Code.”  Complaint, Pg. 20, Para. 37.

Plaintiff alleges seven causes of action (there is no sixth cause of action), including six Fifth Amendment Due Process causes of action, and one combination First Amendment “Right to Seek Redress of Grievance” and Fifth Amendment Due Process cause of action.

The first cause of action alleges that plaintiff has a right to “peaceful ownership, enjoyment and use of the subject private land.”  Complaint, Pg. 19, Para. 35.  The individual defendants have a duty to place “into the record such contractual information or documentation which they allege brought the private land and chattels under such City of San Bernardino Administrative Law.”  Id., Pg. 19, Para. 36.  The individual defendants conspired to “perpetrate their custom, policy and practice of dealing with [Plaintiff] under the mere ‘color of state law’” in violation of 42 U.S.C. sections 1983 and 1985.  Id., Pg. 20, Para. 39.

The second cause of action states that plaintiff had a “primary right” to rely on a repealed Penal Code section.  Complaint, Pg. 21, Para. 42.  Plaintiff states that defendants had a duty to know that there was no authority to obtain demolition orders, but maliciously commenced several legal actions against private land.  Id. at Para. 43.  The individual defendants conspired in the same manner as in the previous cause of action.  Id. at Para. 45.

The third cause of action states that plaintiff had a right to challenge jurisdiction which would require the government to prove jurisdiction before any further action could be taken.  Plaintiff claims he made the challenge and no “proof of jurisdiction [was] placed into the record.”  Complaint, Pg. 22, Para. 48.  The defendants “again met and gathered together and conspired to ignore the plaintiff’s written challenges to their competent regulatory jurisdiction and again attempted their regulatory actions.”  Id. at Para. 49.

Plaintiff alleges in the fourth cause of action that he had a right to be free of government action.  Complaint, Pgs. 23-24, Para. 53.  Defendants had a duty to refrain from “private Administrative Law actions against the subject private land.”  Id., Pg. 24. Para. 55.  Defendants then conspired in the same way alleged in the first cause of action.

In the fifth cause of action, plaintiff alleges that on March 1, 2005, plaintiff served his “Abundant Due Process – Notice” to the defendants that his land was not subject to the City’s regulatory control because it was sovereign allodial title.  The defendants never made a response, thus defaulting on the jurisdictional challenge.  Complaint, Pg. 25, Para. 60.

Plaintiff alleges in the next cause of action, denominated the seventh cause of action, that he had a right to justifiably rely on the presentation on the City’s seal that the City was founded in 1810.  Complaint, Pgs. 25-6, Para.62.  The City had a duty to know the actual founding date and change the claimed founding date to 1905.  Id., Pg. 26, Para. 64.  Plaintiff again claims that the individual defendants conspired.  Id. at Para. 65.

The eighth cause of action states that none of the “named defendants” have sworn nor subscribed to the oath of office, and that the oath of office is a requirement to occupy any official office.  Complaint, Pg. 27, Para. 68.  Plaintiff had a due process right “to expect that all officers, agents and employees of the City” swore to an oath before they had any official standing to take action against private land.”  Id. at Para. 69.  The individual defendants had a duty to swear to the oath before they took actions.  Id. at Para. 70.  The individual defendants then conspired in the same way alleged in the first cause of action.  Id. at Para. 72.

Plaintiff claims that the defendants were “private persons merely claiming to be governmental officers, agents or employees.”  Complaint, Pg. 30, Para. 80.

So, as you can see, I was dealing with a variety of issues, including the legendary founding of San Bernardino in 1810, even though the 1905 date is not correct, either (the 1905 Charter was not the incorporation of the City; the City incorporated in 1854; it disbanded in 1863; it reformed as a Town in 1869, and reincorporated as a City in 1886.

My discussion of the alleged Complaint from the Motion to Dismiss:

There is nothing unique about this case that would justify a sixty-seven (67) page complaint with ninety-two (92) paragraphs, an “Affidavit of Historic Background Research,” a “Memorandum of Law and Authorities,” a document titled “Fourteen Good-Faith Discovery Negative Averments And Demand For Answers” (in violation of Rule 26(d)), and a “Declaration.”

As to the issue that the City lacked jurisdiction over him and his property:

The California Constitution provides that “[a] city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws.”  California Constitution Art. XI, § 7.  Complaint, Pg. 10, Para. 18.  State law specifically does not preempt the City’s nuisance laws.  Health and Safety Codesection 17951 provides in pertinent part as follows: “The governing body of any city . . . may enact ordinances or regulations imposing restrictions equal to or greater than those imposed by this part . . . .”The City of San Bernardino’s Charter and Municipal Code gives the City authority to define and abate nuisances.  The City’s ordinances have been codified, pursuant to Government Code section 50022.1 et seq.

There is no such thing as allodial title in California.  All Mexican government lands became United States government lands upon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.  Lux v. Haggin (1886) 69 Cal. 255, 335.  “But existing private titles were recognized, and so were the rights of pueblos (Spanish and Mexican towns).”  Witkin, Summary of California Law (9 ed.) Real Property § 4.  Therefore, the premise of plaintiff’s complaint, that his land is somehow above the law, is false.

Here are some hallmarks of Constitutionalism, from my experience with it (not all cases show all the hallmarks):

  • An American flag (in a courtroom) with yellow fringe is an admiralty flag, and thus the court lacks jurisdiction to hear cases against them.
  • The oaths taken by officer holders are invalid for some reason.
  • For some reason, their land was owned before California was admitted into the Union, therefore, all laws don’t apply.
  • The 14th Amendment is invalid, therefore, the law doesn’t apply to them.  (See also, the 16th Amendment is invalid, therefore they don’t have to pay taxes).
  • Misuse of the Uniform Commercial Code.
  • The use of legal terms from other states or jurisdictions that make no sense in California (or United States District Court).
  • A misconception about the term “common law.”
  • The Gold Standard, the Federal Reserve, Corporations, and capitalization,  and punctuation are all involved.

Looking at the San Bernardino Superior Court records, I also criminally prosecuted the plaintiff before he filed the complaint, for an inoperable vehicle, which he was convicted.  There is no online record that he ever paid.  Part of the suit was against the Code Enforcement Officer in that case, the Director of Code Enforcement, and Deputy City Attorneys.

The moral of the story is that magical thinking does not divest a City of its police powers.  Cities have an enormous responsibility not to abuse their inherent powers, which are restrained by the U.S. Constitution to some degree.  However, what some people think the Constitution says is not relevant to what the Constitution actually says and actually protects.  Don’t fall victim to anyone who tells you your problems will go away by removing your license plates, recording fake deeds or liens, or not swearing to an admiralty flag.  The internet lacks enough electrons to prove these tactics incorrect, illegal and immoral, but they are each a combination of these.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

Fictitious defendants in Federal U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law


California Code of Civil Procedure allows fictitious defendants, that is, naming unknown defendants, which you will commonly see in a caption (such as “Doe 1″ or “Does 1-50, inclusive”).  See California Code of Civil Procedure § 474.

The use of Doe (fictitiously named defendants) in federal questions cases is permissible when the complaint alleges why the defendant’s real name was not known. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 390, fn. 2, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 2001, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619 (1971). Central District of California Local Rules Rule 19-1 limits the Complaint to no more than ten Doe or fictitiously named parties.

Though there is an easy way to add fictitiously named defendants in California Superior Court, the way to do it in U.S. District the Central District of California is by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 15(a)(2), and Rule 21:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 15(a)(2) reads:

          (a) Amendments Before Trial.

. . .

(2) Other Amendments. In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading

only with the opposing party’s written consent or the court’s leave. The

court should freely give leave when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. P.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 21 provides, in pertinent part, that “[o]n motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a party. . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 21.

“Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 places leave to amend, after a brief period in which a party may amend as of right, within the sound discretion of the trial court. [Citations omitted]. In exercising this discretion, a court must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15 to facilitate decision on the merits, rather than on the pleadings or technicalities. [Citations omitted]. Accordingly, Rule 15’s policy of favoring amendments to pleadings should be applied with ‘extreme liberality.’” United States v. Webb, 655 F.2d 977, 979 (9th Cir. 1981).

“If the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by a plaintiff may be a proper subject of relief, he ought to be afforded an opportunity to test his claim on the merits. In the absence of any apparent or declared reason-such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.-the leave sought should, as the rules require, be ‘freely given’.”  Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S. Ct. 227, 230, 9 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1962).

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055



LAPD Legal Payouts By the City of Los Angeles

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

On January 22, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published a spreadsheet showing the amounts paid by (or collected in some rare cases) by the City of Los Angeles related to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).  The numbers are fascinating, and no doubt required a great deal of clerical work either by the employees of the Los Angeles Times, or by the employees of the City of Los Angeles.  This is a good illustration of the benefits of the California Public Records Act.

The cases run the gamut from minor traffic accidents to wrongful death suits to disability payouts to Federal civil rights cases, and even dangerous condition of public property.  I have a perspective on this data because I am a plaintiff’s attorney, both in the personal injury and the 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 civil rights arenas, and because I defended cities and police officers for about ten years, first as a Deputy City Attorney and then as as an Assistant City Attorney.

The information regarding the car accidents is not surprising.  In an accompanying article, reporter Joel Rubin writes:

The city has paid nearly $24 million in settlements or verdicts in about 400 LAPD traffic-related lawsuits over the last nine years and must contend with dozens more cases that remain unresolved, city records show. In all but a few of the closed cases, city officials opted to pay a negotiated settlement instead of taking their chances at a trial — a strong indication that the officers were in the wrong.

However, other interesting information can be gleaned from the data: the City of Los Angeles does not try as many cases as you would think for a City of that size or a City Attorney’s Office of that size.  I counted only 25 trials out of 921 cases with a listed disposition.   On the other hand, there were not that many outright $0 verdicts or settlements, 16 by my count.

Thirteen of those are what I would characterize as alleged Federal Civil Rights allegations: 4 were listed as Dismissal-Court, which I would take to mean a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.    There are 4 voluntary dismissals, though it is not clear if that means that there was a dismissal with a waiver of costs and a release, or whether the cases listed as Settlement (three cases).  Only one of the civil rights cases was listed as won on Summary Judgment.  One case does not give information about how the City of Los Angeles was not liable.

Federal Civil Rights cases are very fact dependent, so looking at the raw statistics without more information (the alleged conduct, the case number, stage of disposition), for example.

This is good investigative journalism by the Los Angeles Times.


The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Address : 1255 W. Colton Ave., Suite 104
Redlands, CA 92374
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

When Should You Contact A Lawyer For A Code Enforcement Problem?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

Many California cities have departed from filing misdemeanor or infraction citations or complaints in their local Superior Court.  The reason why is that the Government Code provides a more efficient process with administrative citations.  For many situations, such as leaving your garbage cans out too long, it makes more sense to pay an administrative citation then to be arraigned on a criminal citation.   Further, with the ever-increasing amount of penalties piled upon criminal citations, it is also beneficial to the violator to only have to pay $100 for a ticket.  The city or town benefits because they get the entire fine, minus any processing fee from a third party administrator, versus getting roughly half of the base fine for the criminal citation.  In most cases, the alleged violator does not need an attorney.  Even when it is a criminal case, unless your time is exceedingly valuable or you will be out of the area at the time, it does not make sense to pay an attorney to appear on your behalf.

The number one way to get rid of a code enforcement problem is to come into compliance with the ordinance.  Sometimes that is not possible for financial, logistical, or other reasons.  However, an attorney is often the wrong tool to deal with financial problems, as the attorney’s fee will increase the cost to remedy the situation.  Sometimes an attorney can help with the process and explain the situation, and work with the agency to come up with a compliance plan.

However, with administrative civil penalties cases, where the city wants to charge the property owner up to a thousand dollars a day for a continuing violation, it may make sense to speak to an attorney sooner than later.  Once the citation becomes a lien against the property, depending on the implementing ordinance, it may be impossible for anyone — including a skilled attorney, to do anything about the situation.  Also, attorneys will not guarantee results, because with code enforcement,  the same City that cited the alleged violator that must be convinced to change their course.

Alleged code enforcement violators like to think that they are being singled out for selective enforcement, or some kind of discrimination is at hand.  Though that may be the case, having hundreds of junked cars on a property makes a selective enforcement case difficult to win.  Though code enforcement departments sometimes very technical interpretations of vague municipal codes that are problems, the majority of code enforcement cases are not based on animus towards the property owner.

For out-of town landlords and property holders, it sometimes helps to have an attorney who has dealt with a code enforcement department in the past.  Each code enforcement situation is different, and property owners and tenants should consult with an attorney about their particular situation.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

How To Act In Front of A Code Enforcement Hearing Officer

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

Many cities in California have shifted away from hearing boards for administrative hearings and hired hearing officers to hear appeals of administrative citations, administrative actions, and administrative civil penalties.  Here are some general, common sense rules to follow when appearing before a hearing officer.

1. Be prepared.  Bring all the relevant information, including current photographs, and any witnesses on your behalf.  Draft an outline of remarks before the hearing.

2. Be respectful.  There’s no point in being bombastic.  When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I had the occasion to observe hundreds of hearings in front of a few different hearing officers.  One well-known unlawful detainer attorney argued his way into a higher fine for his client.

3. If you are challenging any aspect of the hearing, make a record.  Submit any objections to the process or hearing officer in writing.

4. As a corollary to be prepared, show up early, watch how the hearing is conducted, and obtain any rules  adopted by the hearing officer or City in advance.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

How To Fill Out Central District of California Form CV-01A – Summons

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Litigation in the United States District Court, Central District of California requires litigants and their attorneys to adhere to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules and General Orders, as well as unwritten rules.  While there are a number of reasons to be in Federal Court (federal question, diversity), most of my practice in the Central District of California relates to violations of Federal civil rights under 42 United States Code section 1983, though I have appeared in other cases as well.  Here are the rules to follow for completing the form Summons.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 4 reads:

Rule 4. Summons

(a) Contents; Amendments.

(1) Contents.

A summons must:

(A) name the court and the parties;

(B) be directed to the defendant;

(C) state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney or — if unrepresented — of the plaintiff;

(D) state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend;

(E) notify the defendant that a failure to appear and defend will result in a default judgment against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint;

(F) be signed by the clerk; and

(G) bear the court’s seal.

(2) Amendments.

The court may permit a summons to be amended.

(b) Issuance.

On or after filing the complaint, the plaintiff may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant. A summons — or a copy of a summons that is addressed to multiple defendants — must be issued for each defendant to be served.

Statement of Interested Parties

As of the date of this writing, the Local Rules say:

The summons shall be prepared by the attorney upon forms supplied by the Clerk.  Central District of California Local Rule L.R. 4-1.

United States District Court Central District of California Form CV-01A is dated October 2011.  A fillable (but not saveable) PDF is available at the Central District of California’s website under “Forms.”

First, fill out the section that says “Name & Address” in the upper left hand corner. Local Rule 11-3.8 states:

(a) The name, California bar number, office address (or residence address if no office is maintained), the telephone and facsimile numbers, and the e-mail address of the attorney or a party appearing pro se presenting the document shall be placed commencing with line 1 at the left margin. The e-mail address shall be placed immediately beneath the name of the attorney. Immediately beneath, the party on whose behalf the document is presented shall be identified. All this information shall be single spaced. When a document is presented, the information set forth in this paragraph shall be supplied for each attorney or party appearing pro se who joins in the presentation of that document.

Next, fill out the caption.  The caption on the Summons should read exactly as it does on the Complaint.  The Deputy Clerk will check the Summons against the Complaint.  What happens if the room on the mandatory form is not long enough to put in all the information found in the Complaint?  Add an Attachment, on pleading paper and otherwise compliant with the local rules showing the additional information and affix it to the original Summons and the copies of the Summons.

Next, if the Complaint has already been filed without a Summons issuing, put the case number under the heading “CASE NUMBER.”

Next, add the days of service as appropriate, check the appropriate box for complaint, amended complaint, counterclaim, or cross claim, and the name and address of the attorney or pro se litigant.  The Clerk will date the Summons, sign and affix the seal to the original, and stamp the copies.

As an initiating document, the summons must be issued by the Clerk (either in person or by express delivery/mailing with a self-addressed stamped return envelope.)  Pursuant to General Order 10-07, you are required to email an issued copy of the summons in PDF format “by close of business the following day,” and pursuant to Local Rule 3.2 “within 24 hours.”  Choose the shorter of the two.

The Summons will not be filed at the time of issuance, so there is no need for blue backing and hole punching, as required by L.R. 11.5.  However, there should be an original and as many copies as there are defendants.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

W: http://michaelreiterlaw.com

A Look At Voter Registration in the San Bernardino Election November 2011

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The San Bernardino Registrar of Voters has a District County Summary, last updated 10/23/2011.

The City of San Bernardino has 72,976 registered voters, of which 26,482 are permanent vote by mail (36.3%).  San Bernardino City Unified School District has 87,987 voters, of which 31,864 are permanent vote by mail (36.2 %).

The Third Ward of the City of San Bernardino has 8,875 voters, of which 3,080 are vote by mail (34.7%).  The race is nonpartisan, but registered Democrats (4,312) outnumber Republicans (2,519)  almost two to one.  There are also 1,685 decline to state (nonpartisan) voters.

The Fifth Ward of the City of San Bernardino has more than five thousand more voters than the Third Ward.  There are 14,062 registered voters, 5,925 are Democrats, 4,897 are Republicans, and 2,599 are decline to state.  There are 5,166 permanent vote by mail voters, 36.7 percent of the total voters in the Ward.  The Fifth Ward has the most number of voters.  That could be because the Wards were drawn in the early part of the last decade to have the same number of residents.  However, the Fifth Ward has provided most of the growth in new homes.

The Seventh Ward of the City of San Bernardino has the third highest number of voters by ward (after the Fifth and the Fourth).  There are 11,398 voters, of which 4,273 are permanent vote by mail (37.5).  There are 4,871 registered Democrats, 4,010 registered Republicans, and 2,027 decline to state voters.


Address : 1255 W. Colton Ave., Suite 104
                     Redlands, CA 92374
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

Ballot Order In The November 8, 2011 San Bernardino City Elections

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The order of candidates on ballots is determined by a random drawing done  by  the California Secretary of State’s Office.  The drawing  for the November elections statewide was done on August 18, 2011.  The drawing determines who goes first, by surname, which continues if people have similar surnames, like Reiter and Reid.

Why does it matter?  It takes any politics out of the order of candidates.  Why does that matter?  Because of a phenomenon called the primacy effect or ballot order effect.  The Secretary of State’s website claims: this “procedure was established by legislation passed in 1975 in response to court rulings declaring that standard alphabetical order or incumbent-first was unconstitutional since there is a 5% positional bias among undecided voters.”  The ruling that the Secretary of State’s website is referring to is Gould v. Grubb (1975) 14 Cal.3d 661.  The court found that “incumbent-first” and alphabetical order violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution’s equal protection clause.

The order of the randomized draw for this election  is:

1. F. 2. Q 3. Y 4. K 5.O 6. C 7. H 8. U 9. T 10. G 11. B 12. I 13. S 14. A 15. V 16. W 17. E 18. X 19. L 20. Z 21. N 22. J 23. R 24. M 25. D 26. P.

This drawing is done pursuant to California Elections Code section 13112 which reads, in pertinent part:

13112. The Secretary of State shall conduct a drawing of the letters of the alphabet, the result of which shall be known as a randomized alphabet. The procedure shall be as follows:

(a) Each letter of the alphabet shall be written on a separate slip of paper, each of which shall be folded and inserted into a capsule. Each capsule shall be opaque and of uniform weight, color, size, shape, and texture. The capsules shall be placed in a container, which shall be shaken vigorously in order to mix the capsules thoroughly. The container then shall be opened and the capsules removed at random one at a time. As each is removed, it shall be opened and the letter on the slip of paper read aloud and written down. The resulting random order of letters constitutes the randomized alphabet, which is to be used in the same manner as the conventional alphabet in determining the order of all candidates in all elections. For example, if two candidates with the surnames Campbell and Carlson are running for the same office, their order on the ballot will depend on the order in which the letters M and R were drawn in the randomized alphabet drawing.

(b) (1) There shall be six drawings, three in each even-numbered year and three in each odd-numbered year. Each drawing shall be held at 11 a.m. on the date specified in this subdivision. The results of each drawing shall be mailed immediately to each county elections official responsible for conducting an election to which the drawing is applicable, who shall use it in determining the order on the ballot of the names of the candidates for office.

. . .

(F) The sixth drawing under this subdivision shall take place on the 82nd day before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of the odd-numbered year, and shall apply to all candidates on the ballot in the elections held on that date. (2) In the event there is to be an election of candidates to a special district, school district, charter city, or other local government body at the same time as one of the five major election dates specified in subparagraphs (A) to (F), inclusive, and the last possible day to file nomination papers for the local election would occur after the date of the drawing for the major election date, the procedure set forth in Section 13113 shall apply.

(c) Each randomized alphabet drawing shall be open to the public. At least 10 days prior to a drawing, the Secretary of State shall notify the news media and other interested parties of the date, time, and place of the drawing. The president of each statewide association of local officials with responsibilities for conducting elections shall be invited by the Secretary of State to attend each drawing or send a representative. The state chairman of each qualified political party shall be invited to attend or send a representative in the case of drawings held to determine the order of candidates on the primary election ballot, the November general election ballot, or a special election ballot as provided for in subdivision (d).
. . .

Looking at the San Bernardino City Unified School District election for Candidate for Governing Board Member, the order is:

Anna M. Cox

Willard A. Hughes

Margaret B. Hill

Mike Gallo

Lynda K. Savage

Damon L. Alexander

Elsa Valdez

Juan M. Lopez

Henry William Nickel

Gil Navarro

Dan Deane

Teresa Parra

Sharon “Bobbie” Perong

For the City of San Bernardino races:

For City Attorney

David L. McKenna

James F. “Jim” Penman

For City Clerk:

Peggi Hazlett

Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna

Amelia Sanchez-Lopez

William A. Valle

Esther Jimenez

For City Treasurer

David C. Kennedy

For Candidate for City Council, Ward 3:

Tobin Brinker

John Valdivia

For Candidate for City Council Ward 5

Chas A. Kelley

Larry A. Lee

For Candidate for City Council Ward 6

Rikke Van Johnson

For Candidate for City Council Ward 7

Wendy McCammack

James Mulvihill

What is particularly amusing about the randomized draw is that all four City Council Member incumbents are listed first, even with the randomized drawing.  Of course, only three are contested, and each are two person races, so the probability of that happening at random is not that unusual.

Address : 1255 W. Colton Ave., Suite 104
                     Redlands, CA 92374
Telephone: (909) 708-6055

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