High Rise Initiative Shot Down at Freefall Speed
Yet another massive fail for the Truthers; their 57th consecutive bungle.
On Monday, we received the City Clerk’s certificate, which claims first that the petition has only 27,892 valid signatures, 2,108 less than the 30,000 threshold; and second that the proposed charter amendment is legally invalid for three reasons.
Legally invalid? How could that possibly be, with an experienced election lawyer working for them?
1. The Financing Plan. The City claims that the proposed .9% surcharge on construction permits is a tax and not a fee, and thus invalid because it would require approval from Albany. We will argue that the surcharge is indeed a fee, which the City has the authority to enact without State approval. The proposed surcharge is similar to many fees the City already charges. According to our lawyer, Leo Glickman, "By labeling this surcharge a tax, the City is calling into question the legality of hundreds of fees it already charges, and making it much more difficult to enact fees in the future. It's astounding that the City is willing to act so strongly against its own self-interest to keep the voters from weighing in on this matter."
2. Adequate notice as to the effect of the charter amendment. The City claims the petition does not give adequate notice to voters about the effect of the charter amendment. We will argue that it obviously does, and additionally we may argue that our canvassers very clearly communicated the effect of the charter amendment, as does our website and other campaign materials.
3. Whether the charter amendment is advisory, or mandates a fundamental governmental function. The City claims that because the charter amendment applies in part to a building collapse that occurred on September 11, 2001, which according to the City, falls under federal jurisdiction, it is advisory in nature - in other words, it expresses an opinion rather than mandating a fundamental governmental function. Under Municipal Home Rule Law, the law that provides for this type of ballot initiative, advisory ballot initiatives are not allowed. We will argue that the charter amendment indeed mandates a fundamental governmental function related to a matter falling squarely under local jurisdiction, and it is not intended to express an opinion.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of #3 is that the decision in the NYC-CAN's 2009 lawsuit against the city is cited as precedent.
No surprise, the Truthers are going to court to appeal the decision, and (of course) looking for donations to fund their legal fees. As I've said in the past, I almost hope they succeed in getting the measure on the ballot and passed, because their frustration when the Buildings Department responds by saying "See the NIST report," will provide even more amusement.