by Jay O'Brien
On Friday, June 6, Superior Court Judge Raymond M. Cadei denied Charlea
Gene Moore's petition for writ of mandate intended to force the Rio
Community Water District (RLECWD) to rescind employee salary increases
were approved in November 2002. Charlea Moore, who holds office as
of the Rio Linda/Elverta Recreation and Park District, and her husband
alleged that the referendum petition they and others circulated to
the RLECWD action was valid and should have been honored by RLECWD,
the increases and potentially forcing a special election.
Water District General Manager Dave Andres said "We are pleased with
the court decision."
Linda/Elverta Community Water District
RLECWD General Counsel Stacey Sheston advised the RLECWD Board at its
meeting that setting employee salaries and benefits are actions that
not subject to a referendum petition. Further, she said the petition
flawed on its face as it did not provide full information for the
of the petition to review, as required by law.
officials are pleased with court decision.
The RLECWD Board, following Sheston's now proven to be correct advice,
no action. On February 18, the Moores filed the legal action that was
in court on June 6.
Judge Cadei agreed with RLECWD's position, stating in his ruling "Given
obvious formal defect in the petition, respondent [RLECWD] was under no
duty to accept or process it, or to take any of the steps that would
be required by [the] Elections Code..." The RLECWD Board thus followed
The petition circulated by Moore and others "omitted the three pages of
setting forth the monetary amounts associated with each pay range",
Cadei, "The petition was thus defective as a matter of law."
Having found the Moore's petition defective as a matter of law, Judge
deemed the issue of whether the Board action was a proper subject for a
to be moot. He declined to rule on that issue.
RLECWD Counsel Sheston, in a filing with the court on March 7, said "In
three months since the salary increase took effect, it has cost the
only about ...$1860 per month... defending this frivolous lawsuit will
the District far more than that". Sheston was right. Through May 1,
costs to defend against the Moore's "frivolous lawsuit" total $12,997,
the salary increase has cost only $9461. May and June costs are not
Legal costs imposed by the Moores "frivolous lawsuit" will be passed on
RLECWD ratepayers; the Moores do not receive water from RLECWD and are
As the petition was incomplete, "people signed without viewing the
listing the actual dollar amounts of the salaries under question",
Andres. Those who signed the flawed petition with the intent to reduce
expenses caused the opposite effect; legal costs to the District that
be paid by RLECWD customers.
RLECWD employees can breathe easier now.
Elverta News Editorial, June 5, 2003
She's at it again. Prolific
petition gatherer Charlea Moore is at it again. Remember, Parks and
Director Moore is personally suing the Water District for not accepting
flawed petition to stop deserved salary increases for Water District
I understand it has cost the District more in legal fees to respond to
than it has spent on the salary increases. And Moore isn't even a Water
Now she wants equestrian access to the Dry Creek Parkway from U Street,
she can ride her horse to the trails. The residents, however, on that
dead-end street see it another way. They fear horse trailers choking
street, as the County has not proposed to either improve U Street or
a parking area for those who would access the trails. The residents
a petition to the County signed by 35 residents who included their
and articulated their concerns.
Charlea Moore, opposing the residents, submitted a petition to the
with 72 signatures, plus four letters with the same text as the
None of Moore's signatures identified the petitioners addresses, some
whom are not even residents of Sacramento County. Four of the signers
Moore's petition, including Water District Director Mary Harris, also
individual protest letters to the County, perhaps hoping that no one
notice the duplicate submissions.
The signed petitions are included in the official County document
the Environmental Impact of the Dry Creek Parkway, issued in May.
What is most concerning is the tainting of the petition process itself.
of the "signers" of Charlea Moore's petition is two years old! How can
child understand both sides of the issue and make a concerned decision
sign? By the way, the handwriting is very good for a two year old.
If a two-year-old can sign Charlea Moore's petition, does this make you
about the validity of the other signatures and the other petitions she