Measure ‘A’ appeal seeks return to November ballot
Proponents of Measure A, the controversial Mount Shasta city water ordinance initiative pulled off the November ballot by county clerk Colleen Setzer, have filed an elections complaint in Yreka Superior Court to have the measure placed back on the ballot. The complaint contends that Setzer acted improperly and illegally in taking Measure A off the ballot.
“This issue goes straight to the heart of our right to direct democracy through the initiative process,” said proponent Ami Marcus. “Setzer lacks the authority to make this decision. We want Measure A back on the November ballot.”
Measure A proposed, in part, to prohibit corporations from removing bulk water from the city limits and allowed citizens to compel the city to take action if they felt they had been harmed by cloud seeding.
Setzer revoked acceptance of the initiative, saying the Mount Shasta city clerk did not have the authority to take certain actions for the initiative including accepting fees and processing documentation. In addition, Setzer said the proponents had used two different versions of the ordinance; one for the filing of the notice of intent, summary and argument for and against, and another for the collection of signatures. Such an action, Setzer declared, is illegal.
Siskiyou County counsel Tom Guarino said his office will be representing Setzer.
“The election clerk acted in what she thinks is in the best interests of the electorate to ensure the process is properly followed in these matters,” Guarino said. “We are evaluating the petition we were given on Friday.”
Setzer declined to comment.
When the measure was pulled off the ballot, Mount Shasta city manager Ted Marconi said the city was operating as it always had with regards to the initiative process.
“We did this initiative the way we have handled them in the past,” Marconi said.
Proponents dispute the charge of incorrectly filing with the city clerk. They argue that the city is the correct jurisdiction for filing a municipal initiative.
“We have followed correct procedure as instructed by the city and county clerks,” said Molly Brown, the official proponent for Measure A. “The city of Mount Shasta accepted our initial filing, petitions were verified and the city council voted unanimously to place it on the Nov. 2 ballot.”
“Citizens are being denied their fundamental and constitutional right to make laws and vote,” states Shannon Biggs, California Community Rights Director for the advocacy group Global Exchange, in a press release. “Even more fundamentally, this ordinance is about who decides – residents or corporations?”
Measure A was debated for many months before the Mount Shasta City Council voted to place it on the November ballot. At a special council meeting held Aug. 3 to debate whether the two versions were sufficient for the council to withdraw the measure, city attorney John Kenny concluded that although he felt the two versions did violate the elections code, his summary would not have been different. The council voted to leave the ordinance on the ballot.
The full text of Setzer’s statement can be found on the web at www.mtshastanews.com/
The full text of proposed ordinance can be found on the web at www.ci.mt-shasta.ca.us