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Compromise Hinted After City Rejects Anti-Streetcar Petitions

 
Compromise Hinted After City Rejects Anti-Streetcar Petitions
Posted Thursday, August 7th 2014 @ 8am

  There is talk of a compromise at City Hall after those petitions from streetcar opponents demanding a vote on a charter change were rejected on a  technicality on Wednesday.

  Several members of City Council said they would support including the proposal, that would require a public vote before any rail system is installed on San Antonio city streets, be included in a package of charter change proposals set to be presented to voters next year, possibly at he municipal elections in May.  New Mayor Ivy Taylor has made changing the city charter a key action item for her administration.

  Streetcar opponent Jeff Judson rejected the City Attorney's ruling that the petitions are invalid because many of them lack a so called 'circulator's affidavit,' which is a statement from the person who gathered the signatures certifying that they were gathered legally.

  "The City of San Antonio does not have a rule affective circulator affidavits on city charter amendments," Judson said, saying the only time a 'circulator affidavit' is required is if the petitions are demanding the recall of a City Council member.

  But several council members showed their support for the anti streetcar efforts by pointing out that the council will vote today on a measure to end the city's support for the streetcar scheme and pull the $32 million that the city had pledged to the project.  VIA placed the streetcar project on hold last week.

  Taylor restated her desire to make sure that the public can vote on any of the big ticket items which are proposed by City Council.

  Among the other items which may come up on a charter change ballot are the possibility of raising City Council pay, and the public election of a Mayor.  Several council members were frustrated that only the council can elect a Mayor when the sitting mayor resigns.

  Many streetcar opponents said they believed the reason the petitions were denies is because city law only allows a charter change election every two years, and placing this item on the ballot in November would prevent the larger charter change ballot from being proposed in May.

  Others felt council members were trying to protect former Mayor Nelson Wolff, who is being hammered in his bid for re-election as Bexar County Judge over his opposition to the streetcar.  They say many of Wolff's supporters were worried that putting the charter amendment on the ballot in November, when Wolff will be on the ballot, would remind voters of Wolff's support for the streetcar and make it less likely that voters would back his re-election.

 

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