Our city charter gives citizens the ability to propose ordinances.
A petition must be signed by at least five percent of the number of voters in the last city general election. City council then considers the item and either kills the proposal or proceeds with the proposal as though it was a regular ordinance.
A qualifying petition relating to the proposed site of the performing arts center was rejected by council in June.
As allowed by our city charter a second petition with at least five percent of the number of voters in the last city general election was then circulated and signed.
The second petition was turned over to the city clerk. The city clerk found that the signatures were valid and that the petition qualified for the second step in the process, which would have been for the city clerk to put the item on the next city general election ballot. From the city charter:
and that official (the City Clerk) shall have twenty working days in which to authenticate the signatures and thereafter must place the reproposed ordinance on the ballot at the next general election specified in State law, if the proposal received the favorable vote of a majority of those voting in that election it shall thereupon become a City ordinance.
Recently a lawyer for the city convinced council not to put the item on the ballot. His claim is that Texas law does not give the City Clerk the authority to put something on the ballot.
Thus, according to this lawyer our right of initiative is inoperative because the city charter is poorly worded.
Could it be that the lawyer is wrong? Stay tuned.
We deserve better