Mayor’s Statement – Court Ruling in City’s Favor

Yesterday, the Superior Court issued a ruling in an important, high-profile lawsuit, The People of California Ex Rel Rob Bonta vs. The City of Huntington Beach.  The Court ordered a “Stay” of the State’s entire lawsuit filed by Attorney General Bonta against the City of Huntington Beach, which was filed against the City for not updating its Housing Element to accommodate the State-mandated 13,368 units of high-density RHNA housing.  This Court-ordered Stay is not a final determination of the case but it completely halts the State’s lawsuit until the City’s federal lawsuit against the State is resolved, which alleges that the State’s housing mandates are unconstitutional.  In the Court’s order, the State Court ruled “Defendants’ motion to stay proceedings is GRANTED. The proceedings in this action are stayed until a final judgment is rendered in the related federal matter, City of Huntington Beach and Huntington Beach City Council v. Gavin Newsom, Civil Action No. 8:23-CV-00421.”  The Court also noted “preference” for the State pursuant to “Gov. Code § 65752… does not apply to Charter Cities” like Huntington Beach.

As stated by our City Attorney, Michael Gates, who argued the Motion to Stay in court two weeks ago, “We are pleased with the Court’s ruling and we are gratified that the Court recognized the State has been wrong in its case against the City as a Chartered City.  This ruling against the State is a very significant one; and, we will continue to fight aggressively to defend our wonderful City and its local control.  The Court-ordered Stay effectively stops the State from pursuing further action against the City, i.e., no court judgment, no fines, no penalties, no threats by the State of any revocation of our municipal powers.” 

This Motion to Stay is not a ruling that is appealable.  The City’s federal lawsuit awaits the federal court’s next ruling.  We will keep the public apprised of events as they occur in these cases.  Until the Stay is lifted, after the final resolution of the City’s federal lawsuit, no further activity in the State housing lawsuit will occur.  It is on hold indefinitely.

This is a great win for the City.  I am pleased that the Court is supporting and defending the City’s rights.  This is a fundamental fight that we will continue to fight, every day.  I want to thank our City Attorney’s Office for their continued great legal work, and our City Attorney Michael Gates for a phenomenal job in court.

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