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I address an interesting recent take on the charter amendments in which we were told that there is no history of abuse of the petition process in Los Alamos.
In 1979 and again in 1982 there were successful referendum petitions and subsequent elections that reversed zoning actions by the county. But the losers of the 1982 election appealed the voter’s decision and in 1983 the Supreme Court ruled that zoning can only be done by representative bodies, not by election. Under this rule the 1979 referendum would have also been illegal. These are two petitions that were deemed abusive by law.
The proposed referendum amendment puts this law into the charter.
In 2009 – 2010 a group of activists collected enough signatures on two initiative petitions to amend the charter. Both of these petitions violated well-established rules against logrolling — several unrelated or independent issues wrapped into one question. The council followed advice of the county attorney and refused to put these illegal questions to a vote.
This abuse of the process resulted in a proposed amendment putting anti-logrolling language into the charter.
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