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Rejection of petitions makes one wonder

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By Richard Dunn

Last month, the Los Alamos Governmental Review Initiative (LAGRI), a nonprofit organization committed to public participation in local government (www.lagri.org), submitted over 2,000 signatures on two charter amendment petitions, exceeding the numbers required for an election. On Jan. 5, the Los Alamos County Council certified the signatures but, without explanation, delayed scheduling the proposed Apr. 7 mail-in election until a special meeting Jan. 23.

Just a little over two days before that meeting, the council released arguments by the county attorney who alleged that the petitions contained illegal elements, such as “logrolling,” and items that were contrary to overriding state or federal law. Logrolling “joins two or more independent measures to ensure that voters who support any one of the measures will be coerced into voting for the entire package in order to secure passage of the individual measure they favor.” (199 N.M. 12, 888 P.2d 458)

Based on the arguments of illegality, the county council rejected the scheduling of an election, and rerouted the petitions to its own Charter Review Committee for review and recommendation.

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