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Council action and petition precursor are instructive

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By Richard Hannemann

By concentrating on the subject material, council once again chose to look at the proposal in a manner, which avoided directly dealing with the underlying issue. The subject matter of any ordinance initiative or referendum initiative is but the tip of the iceberg.  

The underlying issue of any citizen initiative invariably goes to a break-down in the social contract between government and the governed such that citizens find that their only recourse is to set aside the normal processes of representative government and re-establish the principle that ultimate authority for governance rests with, and derives from, the people.  A referendum initiative commonly referred to as simply “referendum,” which by its nature seeks to overturn a legislative action, is a direct challenge to the governing body.  An ordinance initiative, commonly referred to as simply an “initiative,” by its nature of seeking to implement policy which has been ignored by elected representatives, is a somewhat more indirect challenge to the governing body — though an ordinance initiative which places strictures on the actions of the elected representatives is certainly a direct challenge to the governing authority.


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