Las Vegas Review-Journal

The man whose family fought the city of Las Vegas over its move to take their Fremont Street property cannot understand why the Legislature wants voters to “water down” a constitutional amendment that protects people like him. Harry Pappas said he is shocked by Question 4, the proposal put on the Nov. 2 ballot by state lawmakers. If voters approve the question, then they revise the Peoples’ Initiative to Stop Taking Our Land (PISTOL) constitutional amendment that 60 percent of them approved in 2008.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle believes the Nevada Legislature has strongly and repeatedly tried to make it unreasonably difficult for citizens to pursue ballot initiatives. Angle filed a lawsuit in October that seeks to eliminate some of the myriad restrictions, and today, a federal judge could rule whether recent changes to the law are constitutional.

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Nevada voters won’t get the chance to decide whether the state’s booming mining industry should pay higher taxes. On Monday, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, or PLAN, said it wouldn’t meet today’s deadline to provide the 97,002 signatures from registered voters needed to place the mining tax initiative on the November ballot.

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A national organization unhappy with organized labor intends to circulate two petitions in Nevada this year that would require union elections to be by secret ballot and require employees to agree before political contributions are taken from their paychecks. A third petition to be circulated by SOS (Save Our Secret) Ballot would add to the state constitution the requirement that elections for public office and issues be conducted by secret ballot, as they are done now by widespread practice.

The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled to keep two development ballot measures off of the Las Vegas city ballot. The local Culinary union sponsored two measures that would have allowed citizens to vote on city taxpayer funded development. The Court ruled that the city erred in not putting the measures on the ballot, but that the measures themselves were deficient. 14,000 residents had signed petitions to vote on the matters.

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A union that is sponsoring two Las Vegas ballot measures has asked the state Supreme Court to hear its case to place the measures on the June ballot. The city council had refused to put the measures on the ballot, claiming they were unconstitutional. A county judge agreed with the council. The measures aim to require a vote on taxpayer funded development projects and block a proposed city hall project.

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Ballots for the June 2 Las Vegas city election are already being printed, but a fight over including two measures on those ballots is still going on.

On Friday, the Culinary union appealed a ruling keeping the measures off the ballot and asked for a fast-track hearing by the Nevada Supreme Court, since Election Day isn’t far away and early voting starts May 16.

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A Las Vegas district court judge ruled Friday that city residents would not get a chance to vote on two measures that call into question nearly $100 million in redevelopment borrowing. Over 14,000 voters had signed petitions to put the measures on the ballot. After the ruling, city mayor Oscar Goodman told reporters “I’ve never been a good winner” and said the Culinary union that had backed the measures were “not good citizens.” Initative proponents have vowed to appeal to the state supreme court.

EDITORIAL: Power play

Thu, Mar 5 2009 — Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Contrary to what Mayor Oscar Goodman and his loyal followers on the Las Vegas City Council might believe, they do not enjoy unlimited power — not in matters affecting city policy and downtown redevelopment, and certainly not in quashing the referendum process to sabotage an election.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a showdown.

Culinary Local 226 on Thursday turned in more than 14,000 petition signatures challenging a new Las Vegas city hall and the city’s redevelopment plan, more than three times the 4,500 signatures that were needed.

Mayor Oscar Goodman, meanwhile, suggested the ballot measures for the June election, even if voter-approved, might not stop the new city hall plans. He contends there’s effectively a contract between the city and the would-be developers, Forest City and LiveWork Las Vegas.