FREE SPEECH -- The Metropolitan News-Enterprise in Los Angeles reports that the California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a public entity does not engage in illegal campaign activity by disseminating a list of projects and services that will be curtailed or eliminated if a tax-cutting ballot measure is approved. As staff writer Kenneth Ofgang noted,
The city placed a substantial amount of information about the cuts on its website, including council minutes, a financial analysis by the city manager, a slide presentation detailing program and service cuts in each city department, and the city staffs response to the alternative proposals by Measure O backers.
The city also prepared a one-page document summarizing the cuts, which was posted on the website and made available at City Hall and in the public libraries. A copy of that documentwhich, among other things, named specific libraries and recreation centers that would be closedwas included in the citys October 2002 newsletter, along with eight pages of details.
Within days of the mailing of the newsletter, Measure O supporters sued the city in Monterey Superior Court, accusing the city of having produced campaign materials in opposition to the initiative.