City Government

Signatures on petitions to recall the city mayor and one council member are being reviewed by elections officials today in Cap May Court House. Recall supporters are targeting the officials in response recent and proposed tax increases.

Read the story from the Press of Atlantic City

The Lakeport city council has voted to sent the issue of allowing fireworks in the city to a vote. Residents supporting fireworks in the city collected nearly 700 signatures on a petition to bring the vote.

Read the story from the Lake County News

At their regular meeting this week, the city council for Arnold, MO took up and passed a resolution rebuking the Missouri Municipal League for their obstruction of an eminent domain ballot initiative.

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.

Read the story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Texas Ballot Includes City Charter Amendments

Tue, Apr 21 2009 — Source: TX

The city ballot in Ingleside will contain 12 charter amendments dealing with the way city government works. Included among the propositions are an extension of term limits and doing away with at-large representation.

Read the story from the Caller-Times

Today the Texas Senate had a hearing on Bill 690, which significantly increases the number of signatures needed to get an initiative on the local ballot and creates an unconstitutional hurdle to the process.

Critics of the legislations, rumored to have been requested by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, are worried that the new hurdles will restrict citizens from placing an item on the ballot by making it too hard and expensive for an average citizen.  Local activists are worried that they, the “little guy” will become a non-entity if this legislation passes.

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.

Opponents of a new tougher anti-smoking ordinance for the city of Salina have begun a petition drive aimed at repealing the measure before it takes effect.

But if the petition drive succeeds in bringing the measure to a vote in April, and a repeal is approved, the current ordinance restricting restaurant smoking to between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. would remain in effect. The current ordinance doesn’t apply to bars.

In the next few weeks and if sanity prevails, the General Assembly will teach the judge that here in America, you can’t blast citizens for exercising their constitutional rights ”” then thwack them with a bill on top of it.

Because of Parker, two local Republican delegates ”” Tom Gear of Hampton and Harvey B. Morgan of Middlesex ”” have filed measures in Richmond to protect citizens against being forced to pay removal costs, attorney fees or other sanctions, should those citizens have the audacity to petition to remove an elected official.

One of the most valuable rights available to us as Americans is the right to petition Government for the redress of grievances. So valuable, in fact, it is recognized as one of our unalienable 1st Amendment rights along with free speech, freedom of the press and peaceful assembly. It puts Government in its place. Government governs with the consent of the governed. It’s Government of, by and for the People. It should surprise no one, then, if the most active opposition to Government being responsive to the People comes from Government.

The Culinary union expanded its challenge to a new Las Vegas city hall Tuesday and announced a signature drive for ballot measures that could radically alter, or upend, the city’s downtown redevelopment efforts.
Culinary leaders said they’re worried about the city’s push to finance a multi-million dollar project at a time when the city is trying to cut costs to make ends meet. They also said redevelopment incentives for downtown projects divert money from other public needs.

You may have a right to change your government … but that doesn’t mean government won’t fight back.

In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, there was disagreement over a firehouse, whether it should be decommissioned, or not. The mayor wanted it gone; citizens wanted it kept. So citizens got active, petitioning to change the town’s home rule charter to allow voters to decide.

After four years of workshops, public hearings and re-writes, the new Jefferson County zoning ordinance went into effect November 2. The document will completely transform the way planning and zoning takes place in the county. The old “LESA” system of splitting up large farms far from towns is out—as are parent-to-child transfers and the traditional minor subdivisions, which allowed landowners to carve out two lots every five years with little planning oversight.

A federal jury on Tuesday awarded city fire house activist Denise Carey $67,000 in her civil rights suit against the city and Mayor Tom Leighton, but Carey says the citizens of Wilkes-Barre are the real victors in the case.

“This definitely was not about the money. It was about the principle,” a teary-eyed Carey said moments following the jury’s verdict in federal court in Scranton. “This is a win for the community. Now no one has to be afraid of speaking up. That was the point of this.”

The Allegheny County Board of Elections yesterday ruled that both referendum questions on the 10 percent drink tax should not be placed on the November ballot because they are illegal according to county and state law.

In a ruling that seems to be a bigger blow to the restaurateurs and bar owners than it is to the county, the three judges temporarily serving as Board of Elections members unanimously declined to certify either ballot initiative.