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Attorney general sides with Burbank on ROAR petition

June 17, 2000

Darrell Satzman and Amber Willard

BURBANK -- The point may be moot now, but Burbank officials feel

vindicated just the same.

State Attorney General Bill Lockyer ruled this week that Burbank City

Clerk Judie Sarquiz acted appropriately when she disqualified the Restore

Our Airport Rights ballot initiative in March. Lockyer said the city of

Burbank was not only correct to reject a petition by opponents of Burbank

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Airport expansion, it was obligated to do so.

ROAR officials, now in the process of putting together a revised

initiative to present to Burbank voters, said they still believe the

initial petition was valid.

Burbank City Manager Robert "Bud" Ovrom said that was nonsense and

insinuated that ROAR leaders ought to apologize to Sarquiz for "vicious

personal attacks."

"Judie is an outstanding city clerk and I am very pleased that her

decision has been totally vindicated by the attorney general," Ovrom said

in a written statement. "The attorney general has now said she was

absolutely right and they were dead wrong."

At issue was Sarquiz' rejection of the ROAR petition despite the fact

the group had gathered more than 7,000 signatures for a ballot

initiative. The ROAR initiative sought to prevent Burbank from agreeing

to any deal with Burbank Airport that did not include a mandatory

nighttime curfew and a cap on flights.

Sarquiz said the petition was invalid because the group did not list

the name of its leaders on the form. ROAR officials countered that the

name of the organization was plain to see and that Sarquiz was motivated

by politics. In the end, the city disqualified the petition and agreed to

ask the attorney general to rule on the matter.

"Nobody asked if ROAR complied with the law," ROAR chairman Howard

Rothenbach said Friday.

He said the request by Burbank officials did not ask if the group had

complied by listing its name, but instead asked if it had not complied by

failing to list his name and that of co-chairman Ted McConkey.

While the group had hoped for a different ruling from Lockyer,

Rothenbach said, it remains undeterred in its efforts to limit airport

expansion.

"We're going to move ahead with a better initiative. (Lockyer's

opinion) is not going to stop us," Rothenbach said.

Signature gathering on the revised ROAR petition has been delayed as

the group's attorneys give it a final review. The petition could be

presented to the Burbank city attorney for analysis next week, officials

said. Supporters will then have until October to gather the necessary

5,200 signatures for inclusion on the February ballot.

Ovrom said the city will review the petition just as closely as it did

the first time.

"Julie (Sarquiz) always has an obligation to adhere to the law," Ovrom

said.

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