Monday, January 07, 2013

Vancouver Light Rail Petition Confusion: Yes, Maybe, er I Mean No! After Verifying Signatures, Vancouver Officials Disqualify Them Leaving Too Few To Make Ballot

Different time, same story.
Did anti light rail petitioners have enough signatures or didn't they? There appears to be confusion between Vancouver City Officials. Their final answer? Too many hinky signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot.

Ninety four signatures in question were struck from the latest anti light rail petition in Vancouver leaving too few signatures to qualify for an upcoming ballot. Some reportedly were duplicates, others simply didn't make the grade according to the verification folks at the Clark County Auditor's Office.

But one anti light rail petitioner, Larry Patella, asks a very good question:

 "...[W]hy the hell it took from April 2012 to January 2013 to process the verification of the Light Rail Petition Signature. We have a right to know, when the signatures were sent to the County Auditor and what six month to let us know what was going on. 

The petition requiring the City to not get entangled in light rail by taking no action, nor enacting "legislation that would promote or establish light rail across the Columbia River into Vancouver." Patella says it appears the City dragged its feet to make sure the initiative stayed off the November ballot and then, after concluding the signatures were valid, changed their minds:

There is something terrible wrong downtown and it needs to be investigate [sic].  If there are any good lawyers out there who are of the opinion that the voters have rights and that the doing of the City Clerk, the County Auditor and the Vancouver City Council needs investigation Please come forward.
Patella says he received an email from the Vancouver City Attorney admitting to confusion with the signatures:

As you will recall from the Report that was sent to you yesterday, the City Clerk concluded that ninety four (94) signatures whose validity was questioned by the County Auditor’s Office were valid even though certain petition circulators had not filled out the number of signatures on each petition page.  Based on the December 19, 2012  certification letter from the County Auditor which is also attached, the Clerk certified that with these ninety four signatures, the Petition had the required number of signatures as provided by the City Charter. 

The County Auditor, however, has now advised that those signatures must be reviewed separately by the Auditor’s Office for sufficiency which review was just concluded. Attached to this e-mail is the County Auditor’s certification letter to that effect which concludes that the Petition lacks the requisite number of signatures.  I am sorry about the confusion regarding this matter. I believe the City Clerk and our office followed the direction provided by the County Auditor’s Office in their December 19, 2012 certification letter regarding the ninety four signatures. 
Clark County residents: strike back hard. As we've discovered in Oregon, unless you get twice as many signatures as you'll need, those who count the signatures will always find a way to knock your initiative off the ballot.

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