47 Cal.2d 699, 22761, Santa Barbara Etc. Agency v. All Persons

Docket Nº:22761
Citation:47 Cal.2d 699, 306 P.2d 875
Opinion Judge:[12] Shenk
Party Name:Santa Barbara Etc. Agency v. All Persons
Attorney:[7] Sherman Anderson and W. P. Butcher for Appellants. [8] Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, Herman Phleger, Alvin J. Rockwell and John M. Naff, Jr., as Amici Curiae on behalf of Appellants. [9] Vern B. Thomas, District Attorney (Santa Barbara), and Lawrence M. Parma, Deputy District Attorney, for Res...
Case Date:January 24, 1957
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 699

47 Cal.2d 699

306 P.2d 875

THE SANTA BARBARA COUNTY WATER AGENCY, Respondent,

v.

ALL PERSONS AND PARTIES etc., Defendants,

MAURICE A. BALAAM et al., Appellants.

L. A. No. 22761.

Supreme Court of California.

Jan. 24, 1957

In Bank

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Sherman Anderson and W. P. Butcher for Appellants. Brobeck, Phleger &amp Harrison, Herman Phleger, Alvin J. Rockwell and John M. Naff, Jr., as Amici Curiae on behalf of Appellants.

Vern B. Thomas, District Attorney (Santa Barbara), and Lawrence M. Parma, Deputy District Attorney, for Respondent.

Edmund G. Brown, Attorney General, B. Abbott Goldberg and Adolphus Moskovitz, Deputy Attorneys General, J. Lee Rankin, Solicitor General of the United States, Perry W. Morton, Assistant Attorney General, David R. Warner and Roger P. Marquis, Attorneys, Department of Justice,1 and Price, Postel &amp Parma as Amici Curiae on behalf of Respondent.

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OPINION

SHENK, J.

This is an appeal from a judgment for the plaintiff Santa Barbara County Water Agency confirming the validity of a so-called "Master Contract" between the agency and the United States, acting by and through the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior, and five so-called "Member Unit Contracts" between the plaintiff and each of five public bodies, namely, the city of Santa Barbara, and the Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and Goleta County Water Districts.

The plaintiff as petitioner commenced this proceeding on February 8, 1950, pursuant to section 11.10 of Santa Barbara County Water Agency Act (Act 7303, Stats. 1945, p. 2780; amended by Stats. 1949, p. 18) to secure a judicial determination of the legality of the establishment of the agency and its member units, and the validity of the master contract and the five-member unit contracts entered into by the agency. Such a determination is required by article 35 of the master contract, by articles 36 of each of the member unit contracts, and by federal law (Omnibus Adjustment Act of 1926, section 46, 44 Stats, 649, 650, 43 U.S.C. section 423e). It is a special proceeding in rem and summons was by publication. It was brought against all persons having or claiming to have any interest in the formation of the agency, in the proceedings of the various contracting entities leading to the execution of the contracts, in the operation of the proposed contracts and in the property affected thereby. A final judgment will foreclose further inquiry into the matters to which the judgment properly relates, and within its legitimate issues it will be binding on the world at large. (Ivanhoe Irr. Dist. v. All Parties, ante, p. 597 , and cases there cited.) The answering defendants are Maurice A. Balaam, Ted R. Holden, William G. Sudden, W. G. Moore, R. E. Sudden, Charles E. Sudden and L. H. Crandall. The default of all other defendants was duly entered on May 1, 1950.

The petition alleged six causes of action each seeking the confirmation of one of the contracts involved. The defendants demurred to each count on both general and special grounds. The demurrers were overruled. The defendants' answer denied the validity of the formation of the plaintiff agency, certain proceedings of the board of directors of the agency leading to and including the signing of the master contract, the master contract itself, the proceedings of the respective boards of directors of the different member units leading to and including the signing of the respective member

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unit contracts and the validity of each of the member unit contracts.

The defendants also pleaded nine affirmative defenses to each of the causes of action. In substance it is alleged: (1) that provisions in the member unit contracts authorized by the Santa Barbara County Water Agency Act, whereby the agency will levy ad valorem taxes on all property in the agency to establish a fund from which contributions will be made to the member units, violate the constitutional provisions against legislative gifts and authorization of the imposition of local taxes by special legislation (art. IV, section 13 and art. XI, section 12 of the state Constitution); (2) that the Santa Barbara Water Agency Act purports to give the agency the power to levy ad valorem taxes on all property in the city of Santa Barbara and the various county water districts in violation of the constitutional prohibition of the imposition of taxes on individuals or property within public corporations for municipal purposes (art. XI, section 12 of the state Constitution); (3) that the Santa Barbara Water Agency Act is unconstitutional in that it subjects the defendants to taxation and assessment on lands which cannot possibly be benefited from the construction of the project; (4) that any determination, legislative or otherwise, that the defendants' lands will be benefited by the project is arbitrary and contrary to any rational view based on evidence of investigation; (5) that the contracts provide for no distribution of water to parcels owned by a single person in excess of 160 acres, but that the excess lands are nevertheless subject to taxation for project purposes; (6) that the contracts are impossible of performance and lacking in consideration; (7) that the contracts (except the city of Santa Barbara Member Unit Contract) purport to prohibit the exclusion from the district of lands not benefited by the project, without the consent of the Secretary of the Interior; that section 23202 of the Water Code condones such provisions, and that both the contracts and section 23202 violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution and constitute an unlawful delegation of legislative power under the state Constitution (art. IV, section 1); (8) that the provisions of section 9(c)(2) and (c) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (53 Stats. 1187, 43 U.S.C., section 485), pursuant to which the contracts purport to have been executed, constitute an unconstitutional delegation of power to the Secretary of the Interior, and (9) that those provisions of the contracts which provide that the United States is entitled to all waste, seepage,

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and return flow water derived from water supplied under the contracts to the member units through the agency, are invalid under the federal reclamation laws and the law of the state which make such waters appurtenant to the lands irrigated.

The agency demurred generally to each of the affirmative defenses and the demurrers were sustained.

The causes were tried on November 14, 1951, and a judgment was entered on October 22, 1952. The judgment declared (a) the legality of the organization and existence of the agency, the city of Santa Barbara and the four county water districts, (b) the due execution of the six contracts, (c) the lawfulness of the contracts, and (d) that the defendants had waived and were estopped from asserting the illegality or unconstitutionality of the agency and of the Santa Barbara County Agency Act. The defendants have appealed from all portions of the judgment. The Attorney General of the State of California has appeared as amicus curiae in support of the judgment, and the Di Giorgio Fruit Corporation has appeared as amicus curiae asserting the invalidity of the contract.

The county of Santa Barbara is situated in a semiarid portion of Southern California. It has no common source of water supply that can serve the entire county but contains numerous noncontiguous watersheds. The county has grown greatly in population and developed an economy requiring full utilization and development of all available water supplies. For many years the county made investigations and engineering surveys of its water resources utilizing private, public and United States engineers for that purpose. Pursuant thereto, in June, 1945, a comprehensive water development plan for the county was submitted by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency was formed by the Legislature in 1945 to carry out the...

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