Initiatives & Referenda

Statewide Initiatives

In virtually every statewide election cycle over the last thirty years, our firm has drafted or advised on some of the most important statewide initiatives to appear on the ballot, and we have defended those same measures in pre- and post-election litigation. 

In 2012, we helped draft Proposition 30, which realigned state and local government responsibilities and imposed temporary taxes for education. We subsequently defended the measure in litigation brought challenging its placement on the ballot.  

In 2010, we drafted Proposition 25, which permits the State to pass its annual budget by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature, and we later defended the measure in court.  

In 1998, we assisted in drafting Proposition 10, which established a comprehensive program to help children ages one through five. And in 2004, we drafted Proposition 71, which established the State's stem cell research program. We defended both at the trial and appellate level against constitutional challenges.   

A partial list of statewide measures we drafted includes: 

In 2016:

  • Proposition 55 - Extension of Taxes to Fund Education and Healthcare
  • Proposition 57 - Criminal Justice Reform
  • Proposition 63 - Comprehensive Gun Safety

In 2014:

  • Proposition 1 - Governor Brown's Water Bond and Water Quality Initiative
  • Proposition 2 - Governor Brown's State Budget Stabilization Initiative
  • Proposition 47 - Criminal Justice Reform

Local Initiatives

We also have an active practice drafting local initiatives that appear on county, city and special district election ballots. Many of those measures have involved land use issues, including general plan and zoning amendments and specific development approvals. The firm has also litigated important issues arising out of local land use measures.  

The following is a representative list of our recent local initiative work: 

  • The San Francisco Giants' Mission Rock Development Project.  In 2015, we helped draft and advise the San Francisco Giants on Measure B, which won voter approval of the Giants' proposed 28-acre mixed-use development on a site near AT&T Park. The firm has also represented and advised the ballot measure committee formed to support the passage of Measure B. 
  • Soda Tax.  In 2014, we drafted and defended Measure D in the City of Berkeley, which was the first successful tax on the distribution of sugary beverages.
  • The San Francisco 49ers Stadium.  In 2010, we helped advise the San Francisco 49ers on their successful ballot measure winning voter approval of its stadium in the City of Santa Clara. After the initiative was approved, we also successfully represented the 49ers against a referendum challenge to one of the stadium approvals.  
  • City General Plan Amendments.  In the last several years, the firm has drafted several initiatives proposing to amend city general plans, including in Malibu, Pleasanton, and Ventura. In addition, in Malibu, when that measure won voter approval, we intervened on behalf of the proponents of that measure in subsequent litigation. 
  • Redwood City.  In 2008, we advised the City on a series on initiatives addressing the possible development of the Salt Works area of the City. The issues included general plan amendments and voter-approvals for certain future land use matters. 
  • Bay Meadows, San Mateo.  During the course of the redevelopment of the Bay Meadows racetrack, opponents of the project attempted to refer City approvals of the project. The firm successfully defended the developers in litigation over the referendum and the result was that the project went forward without delay.   
Jerome de Joya