Court Date Set – This Wednesday

Photo by Jacob Orth

Our Writ of Mandamus will be heard by Judge Jerry A. Wiese on Wednesday morning in Courtroom 14A of the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89155. The docket starts at 8:30am. Here’s a map.

The City states that it will not follow the law regarding the number of signatures required to get the tax-funded soccer stadium in Symphony Park on the ballot at the next city election. The Writ of Mandamus requires the City to tell the court why, and explain the details.

The law (NRS 295.205(2)) says that the number is equal to fifteen percent of the people who voted at the last city election. That is the 2013 election where Steve Ross, Stavros Anthony and me were all elected. Fifteen percent of the turnout is 2,306.

The City said in its letter sent about half-way through the petition drive that it finds that law unconstitutional, and therefore must use the city election that has the highest historical voter turnout. Fifteen percent of that turnout is 8,258.

This is an important point because although we gathered more than three times the number required under the law, even that number (6,966 valid signatures) is short of the City’s requirement, and the City has ruled that the petition failed.

The courtroom is open to the public if you want to attend to hear the arguments for yourself.

City Says Petition Fails

The Clark County Election Department says 71% of the signatures are viable. That makes the total number of signatures gathered 6,966, more than three times the number required by law (2,306). However, the City says it is not going to follow the law because it finds it unconstitutional. Under the City’s interpretation of the Constitution, which has been explicitly rejected by the Legislature, the City says we need 8,258 signatures; thus, the City says the petition has failed.

Petition update

The first three District Court Judges to be assigned our Writ of Mandamus recused themselves, but today Judge Jessie Walsh agreed to hear the case. The City will have to appear to explain why they are breaking the law by requiring more than 8,000 signatures to qualify the iniative. A hearing is scheduled for February 10.

Here are the details about the legal arguments.

Meanwhile, the signatures are expected to be returned soon to the City Clerk after the County election department determines through a sample of 500 signatures what percentage of the signers are actually registered to vote inside City of Las Vegas limits.

Deadline Shorter

We’ve just learned that even though –

The City told us in in the first letter from the City Clerk that the due date is this Saturday…

And repeated in the second letter that increased the number of signatures required from 2,306 to 8,258 that the due date is this Saturday…

That the due dates is actually tomorrow. I don’t know for sure that they deliberately gave us a deadline for the day after the legal deadline, but it doesn’t matter now. We’ll be out in front of City Hall with notary public services all day tomorrow, and aim for a turn-in tomorrow night.

We don’t need 8K. The city is wrong.

I already wrote about the city’s “error” where they told us instead of the 2,306 signatures required to qualify the initiative, we need 8,258. You can read the city’s letter here.

Essentially, somebody over at the City Hall has decided that the Nevada Constitution doesn’t mean what it says, it means what they want it to. This is the city’s justification for violating the law, under which our Committee only needs to gather 2,306 signatures 15% of the number of people who voted in the last city election.

It turns out that the Legislature has taken up the city’s interpretation of the Constitution – that the phrase “preceding general county or municipal election” really means “preceding general county or general municipal election” instead of what it says. In 1967, the Legislature specifically considered and rejected applying the percentage to the last city general election and made it the last city election.

Here is the letter I would have delivered to the City Clerk’s office yesterday if it has been open. We are requesting they acknowledge that we need to gather 2,306.