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Nearly two weeks after Costa Mesa initiated a lawsuit to place its proposed charter on the June ballot, the City Council Tuesday finally gave official approval to the action.

Until Tuesday’s approval, all action in the case, which was filed March 14, was done in private. The case was filed because the city missed the mandatory deadline to submit the charter for the ballot.

The council voted 4-1 to approve a contract with the law firm Jones Day, which has charged the city $495 per hour for each attorney working on the case.

So far, the city hasn’t officially been involved in the case; City Clerk Julie Folcik is officially the plaintiff.

By having the city clerk rather than the city itself as the official plaintiff, Costa Mesa avoided obligations under state law to notify the public that it was considering the suit, to allow the public to address the City Council on the issue and to announce at a public meeting that city leaders had decided to file the suit.

Superior Court Judge Franz Miller denied the request earlier on Tuesday, which effectively means the charter will instead go before voters at November’s general election.

— NICK GERDA

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