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Mr. Rickman and Ms. Spaeth bring to the forefront the opposition’s view of how initiative and referendum processes should be used.
In Ms. Speath’s words “if we citizens don’t like the direction or decision of council” the ability to bring an initiative or referendum petition should be relatively easy. They want to be able act as citizen legislators whenever they “disagree” with their elected representatives.
This view is contrary to the principle of representative government guaranteed by the U.S Constitution. These tools are for extreme circumstances, not for routine disagreements with those who represent us.
Moreover, the proposal to modify the current signature requirement from 10 percent to 15 percent for referenda, and shorten the signature collection period for initiative from 6 months to three months is quite modest, and continues to be less restrictive than most other communities. For example, Santa Fe requires 33 1/3 percent of those voting in the last mayoral election, with the additional requirement that at least 10 percent of signatures be collected from each of the four council districts.
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