by Pam Zubeck
The people's rights are under threat. In response to the Title Board's objections to include Strawberry Fields (section 5 of the Ballot Initiative) and a retroactive date, POPS legal counsel responded with a motion for a re-hearing (which is pasted below).Here's the motion:
The re-hearing has been set for Friday, 11/4, 9:30am in City Hall, 2nd floor in the Pikes Peak Room, 107 N Nevada. The media and public are invited to attend.
POPS thoughts surrounding the Title Board's objection speak to the core of the people's right to petition the government through the initiative process. Municipalities and courts are required to liberally construe grants of initiative and referendum powers so as to facilitate, rather than to handicap, the people's exercise of their sovereign power to legislate. By contrast, the review power of the Title Board is extremely narrow. It is not the function of the Title Board to express opinion or pass judgement on the substance of legal sufficiency of proposed citizen initiatives. The Title Board can only block a Charter amendment if one of three criteria are met: 1) it violates the single subject rule; 2) the initiative is a legislative not administrative measure; 3) the requirement that the measure does not confuse or mislead voters.
To insure transparency in government, we encourage the media to attend this re-hearing. Additionally, as the Strawberry Fields issue was of such unprecedented importance to the voters of Colorado Springs, your readers, viewers and listeners are eager for your coverage to be informed and educated. Assuming the Title Board does not agree with the legal arguments presented tomorrow by attorneys Bill Louis and Steve Harris, POPS intends to take the issue to District Court. City government is in the business of representing the people not thwarting our right to demand the same protections that our neighbor, Denver, has had for 61 years. We are merely asking for the same rights — the right to vote on the sale or trade of OUR LAND.
Mark your calendars for 11/7 City Council Working Session at which POPS leaders will present the POPS Ballot Initiative to City Council and ask them to put it on the April 2017 Ballot. Otherwise, a special election is required which will cost the taxpayers $300,000. This is unnecessary, wasteful spending and not conservative management of government.
MOTION FOR REHEARING
Comes nowProtect ourParks (the'?etition Committee" or "Committee") and submits this Motion forRehearing of the Colorado Springs Title Board's November 1,20L6 decision in accordance with Section 5.1.507(C) of the Colorado Springs City Code. The Committee hereby demands a hearing on the Motion for Rehearing within two business days as required by Section 5.1.507(C) of the Colorado Springs City Code.
The Proposed Charter Amendment - including the language describing intent of retoactive applicability - satisfies the minimum requirements of the City Code, and the Title Bomd is required to set a petition title so that the City Clerk may issue petition blanks. People have the right to petition the government through the initiative process. Municipalities and courts are required to liberally construe grants of initiative and referendum powers so zls to facilitate, rather than to handicap, the people's exercise of their sovereign power to legislate. By contract, the review power of the Title Board is extremely narrow. It is not the frmction of the Title Board to express opinion or pass judgment on the substance or legal sufficiency of proposed citizen initiatives. As the Title Board rccognized during the November 7, 2016 hearing, there are only three reasons that can be lawfully invoked to bar a proposed Charter amendment: (1) the City's single subject requirement; (2) the
requirement that the initiative be an exercise of legislative rather than administrative power; and (3) the requirement that a measure not be confusing or likely to mislead the voters.
In this case, the Title Board has exceeded its authority by erroneously concluding that retoactive application of a ballot measure, by itself renders such ballot measure administrative in nafire and thereby precludes it from being placed before the voters, and that the stated retroactive intent of the Charter Amendment at issue constitutes a "second subjecf' that contravenes City Code. The Colorado Constitution prohibits "reffospective" legislatioq not "retroactive" legislation. The intent of this citizen-initiated CharterAmendment is to apply to any land transaction involving City Park Land that had not been concluded by May L, 2016, subject to certain exceptions included by the Committee (based on input from the (Initiative Review Committee) to lessen the burden on the City's administrative staff. The Charter Amendment seeks to exercise legislative power by placing more stringent procedural requirements on transactions involving these properties. The Charter Amendment proposes one single process that would applied to a well-defined class of potential properties. The Title Board lacks the authority to deny approval to the measure based on the mere belief that its impact on any particular case-specific instance could be legally challenged in the future on constifutional grounds. For these reasons, the petition Committee respectfully requests the Title Board to reinstate the refroactivity clause into the Charter Amendment and direct the City Clerk to issue petition blanks with the petition title previously adopted by the Board.
The Committee will submit detailed written legal arguments to the Title Board by the close of business on Thursday, November 3,2A16.
Dated this 2d day of November, z}rc.
FOR TFIE PETITION COMMITTEE: