Sunday, September 8, 2013
Salt Lake City's Opinion Question - Vote No Please!
The only thing consoling to me is that as I've explained the history of this question and process to many, including my 13 year old daughter, they have asked a fundamental and thoughtful question of why? For the record, I didn't vote for it, didn't encourage it and DO think of it as a waste of money.
Having said that, the group, Move to Amend, did go through the process of placing a question through the initiative process on our ballot as outlined by State law. While they did meet most of the qualifications of an initiative ballot question, they discovered after the fact an important omission. They missed a fundamental part of initiative law, asking for an actionable ordinance or resolution that the city council could actually take. The courts concurred, yes they did take us to court but my colleagues were still sympathetic to their cause. Some wanted to hold a separate election, but that would have cost us $450,000, which would not have been good, and illegal. Some wanted to do vote by mail, near the election, but the county clerk indicated it would be too confusing to voters, which is true.
Many recognized, including me that time to time, either the council or a group of individuals may have questions that they would want to be asked, so we did develop a process, which had a high threshold and while not likely to be used often, is legitimate and could have value one day. This group did meet that requirement, which is why you received the question in the mail as a voter. The question, which seems harmless, is fraught with many potential and legitimate challenges if ever acted upon by the Federal Government. However, that would be the proper forum for the discussion, not the forum of Salt Lake City and the City Council. I voted no on placing it on the question, you should vote no to indicate that it's not the forum you would have chosen as well.