Rail Transit News (Astrid Monson)
League Testifies Before the Charter Commission
Press Release - Rail
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Eve G. Anderson
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Duke Bainum
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Lois J. Evora
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Benjamin T. Hopkins
Leaguers "Running to Win" - James H. Koshi
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Barbara Marumoto
Leaguers "Running to Win" - George T. Ono
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Jane B. Tatibouet
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Cynthia Thielen
Leaguers "Running to Win" - Michael D. Wilson
On July 28, the Charter Commission voted to put on the ballot the proposal to change the basis 'for determining the number of signatures required on petitions for initiative and recall, and rejected the proposal to raise the percentage requirement from the present 10% to 30%. (This was a reconsideration of the proposal which did not pass at a previous meeting attended by only eight commissioners.)
A motion to consider the change for initiative and that for recall separately has led to the confusing situation where we could end with different bases for initiative and recall unless this is corrected at the next meeting.
The meeting began with public testimony. League's testimony included figures and percentages which proved helpful to others who testified following Arlene, and to the discussion by commissioners. (League's testimony is included in this Voter.) Most of the other testimonies dwelt on the difficulty of collecting signatures, the need for a huge number of volunteers, the long hours involved, and in the case of the Sandy Beach initiative, the need to have certified registrars on hand to register the unregistered. And, of course, the need to preserve citizens' rights.
Questions by the commissioners following his testimony gave Phil Esterman the opportunity to bring out two very important ideas. (The questions focused on the appropriateness of the use of recall by anti-rail forces against Council member Leigh Wai Doo.)
Despite our frustration over the Commission's approval of the change in the basis for signature requirements, this was a satisfying meeting. Most of the commissioners seemed to be listening to citizens' testimonies (as opposed to government officials' testimonies) as evidenced by their questioning of the testifiers and the references to the testimonies in their discussion that followed. League's claim that a 30% requirement on top of the change in the basis would necessitate a number of signatures on a recall petition equivalent to 40% of the voters seemed to convince many of the unreasonableness of such a change. As Chair McCorriston put it, (if we approve this change) ".. the honest thing to do would be to ban recall." Even an amendment to change the percentage from 30% to 20% did not muster enough support to put this issue on the ballot.
There was much discussion on the change of the basis for initiative and recall, but mostly by opponents of the change. The real reasons for the necessity for proposing such a change were not articulated, therefore we were surprised at the vote -- 7-6 in favor of the change in the case of initiative petitions.
The Commission had appointed three of its members to redo the informational brochure that had been produced from a pro/con format to an informational statement. Consideration of the new draft was on the agenda, but because of the lateness of the hour, this was postponed to the August 4th meeting. This will give us the time to study the draft and prepare testimony.
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