What happens with muni case could impact local charter

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By Richard Hannemann

Is the muni petition “illegal?”  There are those opposed to the petition who certainly would like it to be. George Chandler certainly thinks it is. I disagree.
I don’t want to interfere with the county’s case and presentation thereof, so I am not going to argue the merits of the Chandler case here.  I could.  The county attorney and I had a lengthy conversation of the issues involved and I was provided with a copy of the Johnson case, which I studied in-depth to make any final edits to the petition. However, as the case goes to the charter provisions for Right of Petition there are some points of which the public needs to be aware.
Federal statutes, case law, and the U.S. Consititution First Ammendment would all tend to favor the muni petition. At the state level there is no statute which applies.  Nor is there a body of case law at the state level developed over time which applies.  The contention of “illegality” rests exclusively on a single case — Johnson v. City of Alamogordo.  One case.  That’s it.

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