Does Wickenburg’s Mayor have the authority to reject a properly submitted referendum because the attachment was made with a staple rather than a paper clip?
This is the big question on the minds of many Wickenburg residents these days as word of the Mayor’s most recent unpopular decision spreads throughout town.
The referendum is another attempt by town voters to stop construction of high density housing at the Wickenburg Country Club. This is almost the same issue that went to vote in Proposition 421 back in 2004. (Read commentary about the proposition in “The Reality behind Proposition 421.”) The fight got ugly, with lots of nasty comments about the opponents — I actually heard a proponent of the proposition accuse an opponent of being a child molester — certainly a slanderous statement! Vote No posters disappeared nightly until I wrote “Politics in Wickenburg Gets Dirty in a Childish Way.”
But the voters spoke with their votes in a true democratic way — and they voted down the proposition (read “Prop 421 Fails — Now Let’s Get Down to Business“). The high density housing project would be rejected.
But only for a while, it seems. As the recent article, “Do Wickenburg Voters Votes Count?” summarizes, the Mayor and Town Council recently approved, without voter input, a similar project on the same site. So although voters said they didn’t want the project, the Town Council approved it. Now we have a bigger problem in Wickenburg — the failure of the Mayor and Council to act in accordance with voter wishes — the same voters that put them in their positions.
Well, Wickenburg voters aren’t giving up. Another referendum was put together with the necessary voter signatures. It was submitted to the Town Clerk, who received it before the deadline.
But when the referendum was examined before approval, it was noted that an attachment had been made with a staple rather than a paper clip — just as it had been for the original referrendum for Prop 421. The Mayor instructed the Town Clerk not to accept it.
So that’s the question: Does Wickenburg’s Mayor have the authority to reject a properly submitted referrendum because the attachment was made with a staple rather than a paper clip?
Correction: The Mayor now claims that although the form instructions say the description must be “attached” it really needs to be “inserted” on the form. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to insert a 100-word statement on the form without it becoming illegible. So you can stop sending paper clips.