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Judge To Decide If Barrio Logan Community Plan Goes To Court Or Ballot Box

Aired 4/4/14 on KPBS News.

The Environmental Health Coalition is asking a San Diego Superior Court judge to take the Barrio Logan community plan off the ballot and into the courtroom.

When the Barrio Logan Community Plan was passed with a 5-4 vote by the San Diego City Council last year, the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association fought back with a referendum. That referendum is set to be voted on in a June 3 election.

The ship repairers claimed that the updated zoning plan would sound the death knell for the San Diego maritime industry.

The Environmental Health Coalition, an activist group that supports the Barrio Logan community plan, has accused the association of directing their paid signature gatherers to lie to voters about the effects of the plan.

Coalition members are trying to get an injunction on the referendum, which would remove it from the ballot until they can take the case to trial.

They had tried previously to prevent the referendum but were denied.

However, the lawyer representing the Environmental Health Coalition, Livia Borak, said that in the limited discovery process they were able to obtain emails that prove voter fraud.

“We feel we’ve obtained enough evidence to show that the association, and all the way down the line to signature gatherers, were lying to voters,” Borak said. “That’s illegal under the elections code.”

A Superior Court judge will hear the case on April 4, because that is the last day for the San Diego city clerk to set the ballot for the June election. The judge will need to rule immediately as to whether there is enough credible evidence to issue an injunction.

In the case of an injunction, the suit will go to trial. If the judge rules against coalition, Barrio Logan’s new zoning will go before voters in June.

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