With FPPC Enforcement on the Rise, Public Agencies Navigate Gray Area in Use of Public Funds for Election Communications
Local agencies walk a fine line when producing effective informative materials for ballot measures without inadvertently ‘campaigning’. This article reviews current FPPC rules around spending public money to inform the electorate, how to steer clear of enforcement gray areas, and opportunities for the Legislature to authorize limited public agency electoral campaigns.
SMW Attorney Teaches Land Use Law at Stanford Law School
SMW partner Andrew Schwartz is once again teaching Land Use Law at Stanford Law School for the fall quarter 2021-2022. The course focuses on the pragmatic (more than theoretical) aspects of contemporary land use law and policy, including the tools and historical/legal foundation of modern land use law; zoning and General Plans; the process of land development; affordable housing; growth […]
SMW Drafts and Defends Ballot Measure to Protect San Jose’s General Plan
In 2018, on behalf of the City of San Jose, the firm drafts and defends a first-of-its kind charter amendment to prevent a developer-sponsored initiative from gutting the City’s General Plan.
Voters approve SMW-drafted Short Term Rental Initiative
In 2018 voters in Pacific Grove pass an initiative, drafted by the firm, that prohibits short-term rentals in most residential neighborhoods in the City.
SMW Protects General Plans and Referendum Power in California Supreme Court
The firm prevails in a landmark case before the California Supreme Court that upholds the people’s right of referendum and confirms the primacy of the city’s General Plan. (Orange Citizens for Parks & Recreation v. Superior Court, 2 Cal.5th 141 (2016).)
Gilroy Voters Adopt Urban Growth Boundary
Voters in the City of Gilroy pass an initiative in 2016, drafted by the firm, that establishes an urban growth boundary around the City, limiting urban sprawl.
Short Term Rental Initiative Approved
In 2015 voters in Mammoth Lakes pass an initiative, drafted by the firm, requiring voter approval of changes to City zoning prohibiting short-term rentals in most residential neighborhoods.
SMW Prepares Ballot Measure to Fund Open Space Protection
In 2014, voters approve a parcel tax measure sponsored by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority and drafted by the firm.
SMW Drafts and Defends Anti-Fracking Initiatives
In 2014 the firm drafts initiatives in Santa Barbara and San Benito Counties that ban the use of land for fracking. The San Benito measure passes, and subsequent litigation challenging the measure fails. In 2016, Monterey County voters pass an anti-fracking measure drafted by the firm. The firm is defending the Monterey measure from multiple […]
Conservation Victory for the California Gnatcatcher in the West Coyote Hills, City of Fullerton
Blue-gray gnatcatcher, a closely related species to the California gnatcatcher. Photo credit: Becky Matsubara, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 Voters in Fullerton pass a referendum, drafted by the firm, that overturns the City’s approval of a development agreement for a sprawling subdivision in the West Coyote Hills, home to the threatened California gnatcatcher. Following subsequent litigation […]