On January 3rd, 2018, Phase 1 of a 2-part challenge to the Richmond Hills Initiative was heard in court in Martinez. Phase 1 deals with issues based on possible violation of statutes, such as the issues of the legality of altering parts of Richmond policy via Initiative, and also if the Initiative caused inconsistencies within the General Plan.
There are 3 ways the Judge may rule – a) he can invalidate the initiative (we can appeal), b) he can validate the Initiative and we move to Phase 2, or c) he can issue a writ which directs the City to cure the defects in the General Plan (the Initiative itself cannot be altered).
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling this summer that was influential in the judge’s views about how wide-ranging a voter initiative can be, and we believe that ruling furthers our cause. However, the Supreme Court opinion was published two days before the developers’ attorneys filed their first brief, and they said they didn’t have time to analyze it. Given this timing, they asked the judge for the opportunity to file a supplementary brief related to this precedent. The judge granted them 10 days to file their brief and gave our side a following 10 days to file a reply. After both briefs are filed, the case will be considered submitted and the judge will have 90 days to issue his ruling.
Phase 2 will be heard after Phase 1 is resolved and will deal with Constitutional causes of action, such as “takings”.