Ventura County Superior Court Judge Mark Borrell ruled on Monday that the parking meter initiative be removed from the November ballot, saying those who sponsored the initiative and sought to have the meters in downtown ripped out should have used the referendum process. The City Council has the power to install or remove the meters, not the voters, according to Borrell’s ruling.

“The court finds that the object of the initiative is to govern a matter which is not within the electorate’s power to govern through the initiative process. No purpose would be served by placing it on the ballot,” Borrell stated in the writ of mandate filed on Monday. “The balance of the opposing party’s objections are without merit.”

David Veits of Ventura’s city attorney’s office said it will uphold the court’s decision and the initiative will not be placed on the ballot.

Ventura Councilman Neal Andrews, who has been vocal about supporting the will of the voters, said he understood the court’s decision  

“As I said at the time that the city attorney pointed out a bunch of legal problems, I thought it was a shame the city waited until after the [proponents] had spent all the time energy and money on something they felt was illegal,” Andrews said. “I respect the court’s decision based on what the law is. Had the proponents understood the law better, they would have crafted a better proposal. They were allowed to waste their time, when in fact whether or not their concern had the public’s support, should have been given the courtesy to write a viable proposal and let the public decide.”

To download a PDF of the judge’s comments, click on this link.