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Nov. 2nd Election

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Judge rules Boulder City golf course initiative will appear on ballot

By Dylan Scott (contact)

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 | 3:14 p.m.

In November, Boulder City voters will decide whether the city should limit itself to owning one golf course after Judge Allan Earl on Wednesday denied a motion by the city attorney to remove the golf course initiative from the ballot.

The issue has been raised repeatedly at city council meetings as the city prepares to confront a budget crunch. According to city documents, the two golf courses — Boulder Municipal Golf Course and Boulder Creek Golf Club — are budgeted to lose at least $1 million in the coming year.

The city is also trying to reconcile a $3 million hole in its $22.7 million budget for the 2011 fiscal year because of a late lease payment by an energy firm.

At a special hearing, Earl considered arguments from Paul Larsen, who represented plaintiffs Boulder City and City Attorney Dave Olsen, and Tracy Strickland, who represented the five defendants along with his wife, Councilwoman Linda Strickland.

The petition proposes: “Shall the Boulder City Code be amended to provide that it shall be the policy of the City to own no more than one golf course, which shall not exceed 18 holes?”

Olsen filed a lawsuit in July challenging the legal validity of the initiative and named the five citizens who sponsored it as defendants. Larsen then made a motion last week for Earl to direct the city clerk to remove the golf course question from the November ballot.

Larsen pushed the decision forward because election ballots must be printed by Sept. 10 in order to be sent to absentee voters.

He argued the initiative lacked a sufficient description of its effects and would limit the city council’s legal right to make discretionary administrative decisions. For example, the language would seem to mandate that the 27-hole Boulder Creek Golf Club be closed and the 18-hole municipal golf course be left open.

“Anyone signing (the petition) could conceivably be misled,” Larsen told the court. Linda Strickland and Councilman Travis Chandler helped to circulate the petition, and Larsen argued that the ballot initiative “sought to circumvent the administrative authority of the city council.”

He added that Boulder City’s citizens have a chance to weigh in on the issue when electing city council members, who have begun to include their positions on the golf course issue during their campaigns.

The Stricklands countered that the question dealt with policy, and the city council would be left to make administrative choices about how to enforce that policy. They pointed out that the city council could choose to close the municipal golf course and nine holes of the Boulder Creek course. The ballot initiative didn’t discuss particulars.

“We cannot continue to sustain two (golf courses),” Linda Strickland told Earl. “This is about the greater good for Boulder City. That (city) council has no idea what most of the people of Boulder City want to do with these golf courses.”

Earl concluded, because he agreed the ballot initiative addressed a policy issue, he would deny the city’s motion. He also called the golf courses “a financial disaster.”

“We have to give (citizens) the right to vote on what they want,” Earl said after making his decision. “Let’s see what they think.”

After the hearing, Olsen said he would wait for the results of the election, but, if the initiative passed, he plans to challenge its legality in court. Wednesday’s ruling held no bearing on the initiative’s ultimate legality, only that it should be allowed to appear on November’s ballot.

When asked about her appearing as attorney for the defendants while serving as a council member, Linda Strickland said: “I think I have the right to represent my constituents.”

The defendants technically retained Tracy Strickland as their council, and then he sought his wife’s assistance as a partner in their law practice with the case. Linda Strickland said she also consulted the Nevada bar’s professional rules of conduct before appearing in court.

 
 
 
 
 

Group submits signatures for three Boulder City ballot initiatives

By Tiffany Gibson (contact)

Thursday, June 24, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

Signatures for the last three ballot initiatives being petitioned by Boulder City residents for the upcoming general election were submitted to the city clerk Wednesday.

The questions being proposed are whether the city should take a vote from residents when going into debt of $1 million or more, if the city should only own one 18-hole golf course, and an initiative that would limit a city committee member’s term to 12 years.

The ballot committee obtained 952 signatures for the debt question, 855 on the golf course petition and 737 on the term limits petition, committee member Nancy Nolette said.

To be placed on the ballot, an initiative must be accompanied by a petition signed by at least 640 registered voters, according to the city clerk’s office.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said signatures must be collected 130 days before the Nov. 2 general election.

Resident Dan Jensen started circulating the petitions after a majority of the City Council turned down two ballot questions proposed by two council members at a Nov. 24 meeting.

On April 29, the committee also submitted a charter amendment initiative that asks whether the city attorney should be elected instead of appointed by the City Council. The ballot committee submitted the question along with 869 signatures that were verified by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Because it is a charter amendment, the city attorney initiative would have to be passed in two consecutive general elections, Lomax said.

“People are getting a chance to express their views,” Jensen said. “It’s an exciting time.”

City Clerk Lorene Krumm said if the ballot initiatives are verified, she will place the three code questions on the July 13 City Council meeting agenda.

She said the council will have an opportunity to adopt the questions or place them on the general election ballot.

If the City Council adopts them, they have the authority to modify the questions proposed by residents, Krumm said. If the questions are passed in the election, the only way to remove or change them would be through the passage of another ballot initiative, she said.

 

 
 

Petition submitted for ballot initiative on electing city attorney

By Tiffany Gibson (contact)

Friday, April 30, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

Story at http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/apr/30/petition-submitted-ballot-initiative-electing-city/

Boulder City residents petitioning for more ballot initiatives in the upcoming general election submitted a charter amendment question Thursday regarding the appointment of the city attorney.

The amendment initiative asks whether the city attorney should be elected instead of appointed by the City Council. The ballot committee submitted the question along with 869 signatures and 195 notarized pages.

To be placed on the ballot, an initiative must be accompanied by a petition signed by at least 640 registered voters, according to the city clerk’s office.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said signatures must be collected 130 days before the Nov. 2 general election.

Because it is a charter amendment, the city attorney initiative would have to be passed in two consecutive general elections, he said.

Two other initiatives being proposed are whether the city should take a vote from residents when going into debt of $1 million or more, and if the city should only own one 18-hole golf course.

Resident Dan Jensen started circulating the petitions after a majority of the council turned down two ballot questions proposed by two city council members at a Nov. 24 meeting.

He said being able to turn in the charter amendment signatures is an accomplishment for his small group of volunteers.

“The key in my mind is to give (residents) the opportunity to vote,” he said. “Let’s see what the majority thinks.”

Dave Olsen has served as Boulder City’s attorney for 11 years. He said all of the city councils in Southern Nevada appoint city attorneys. The only one in Nevada that doesn’t is Reno, he said.

Jensen said the ballot initiative isn’t an attack on Olsen but an opportunity for residents to express their opinions.

Resident Nancy Nolette said the group is on track to submit enough signatures for the other ballot initiatives, too. And the committee is planning to add another question regarding term limits for various city committee members, she said.

Jensen said the term initiative would limit a committee member’s term to 12 years. He said the ballot question would apply to various boards, including the Airport Advisory and Planning committees.