December 24, 2004
Prop 2 backers sue

They were coy about it at first, but disappointed backers of City Proposition 2 have filed suit to force its implementation.


Two separate lawsuits filed late Wednesday ask judges to order city officials to enact Proposition 2 as soon as possible, and to declare that it should become part of the city's charter.

"It's really a sad day when Mayor Bill White refuses to comply with state law," said Bruce Hotze, one of the main backers of Proposition 2.

White, who offered a competing Proposition 1 that voters approved by a higher margin, charged that the legal action amounts to an effort by backers of Proposition 2 to win in court an election they lost at the polls. He and all City Council members are named defendants in the lawsuits.

The plaintiffs are Hotze, one of two Houston brothers influential in local conservative politics, former Councilman Carroll Robinson, and Jeff Daily, who narrowly lost a bid for council in 2003.

"It's disappointing to see that Mr. Hotze and two former political candidates are bringing a lawsuit, which in the opinion of our lawyers, has no merit," White said in a written statement. "It's a waste of taxpayer dollars, since we have to pay to defend against it."

One lawsuit, filed with the 1st Court of Appeals, asks that the city be ordered immediately to implement Proposition 2. The other suit, in the court of state District Judge Tad Halbach, asks for a legal determination that Proposition 2 should be enacted.

The plaintiffs said they included the appeals court suit because that court can issue an immediate order without waiting for the determination by the trial court.


Whatever. I don't think they'll win, and I don't much care if they have a hard time getting over it. Note Mayor White's comment about the cost of defending the lawsuit, a point he's raised before. Expect to hear that from every Mayoral ally in this fight. Unlike the traffic camera lights, this is one where I think the Mayor will prevail.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 24, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack
Comments

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Posted by: abelard on December 25, 2004 9:08 AM

It's not too hard to understand the mayor's position, if one simply reads the newspaper article:

"City Attorney Arturo Michel said the city cannot legally enact Proposition 2. He said Proposition 1 has not been enacted because it is not scheduled to take effect until the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. He said the city has 20 days to formally respond to the suits, and that no hearing dates have been set.

Although Proposition 2 was approved with 56 percent of the vote, White's competing Proposition 1 received 64 percent voter approval. And it received 281,000 "yes" votes, compared to 243,000 for Proposition 2.

Houston's City Charter states that if voters approve two conflicting charter amendments in the same election, the one with the most votes becomes law."


Couldn't be troubled to read that much, Nutless Abe???

Posted by: Locutor on December 27, 2004 10:47 AM

If I were defending this, I'd ask the judge for reasonable attorney's fees from the plaintiffs. They can't exactly plead poverty, and their case appears so far-fetched it borders on frivolity.

Of course, a Republican judge would be hard-pressed to find any lawsuit against a tax "frivolous," no matter how flimsy the legal basis, but it certainly can't hurt to ask. (Let's have another Bronx cheer for partisan judicial elections, shall we?)

Posted by: Mathwiz on December 27, 2004 5:28 PM

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Posted by: abelard on December 28, 2004 4:45 PM

Abelard, I've had about enough of your abusive language. If you can't express yourself in a civil manner, then please go away. Thank you.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 28, 2004 5:42 PM

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vg vf pregnvayl abg haxabja sbe engfbpengf gb pbzcynva nobhg gur "gbar" bs gurve bccbaragf, jura jung gurl'er ernyyl pbzcynvavat nobhg vf gur rkcbfher bs gur onaxehcgpl bs gur engfbpeng cyngsbez.

Posted by: abelard on December 28, 2004 6:27 PM

Apparently, Abelard has decided that he has more influence on this site than I do. Perhaps I should remit all of my webhosting expenses to him in the future, and we can rename the site in his honor.

Since he is incapable of following a few simple rules, he will discover that actions have consequences.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 29, 2004 8:51 AM

Knowledgeable insiders at City Hall say that the Mayor is very worried about this lawsuit. Undoubtedly, the GOP-dominated judiciary will look favorably on the merits of the suit. For all students of the law, the alleged conflict between the props is a figleaf. Figleaves are not usually upheld. Not, especially, when prop 2 was passed by such a huge margin. Even though prop 1 had a bigger margin, the principle of voter rule must be upheld. Responsible financial management of the city can easily accommodate both props.

In reality, the mayorís prop 1 was an effort to preserve a back-door mechanism for garnering unlimited revenues. Sad that an elected politician would use the cityís funds to machinate against the publicís interest. All citizens should find this abhorrent. Not just republicans or the rich.

At the final analysis, this matter will come to the Texas Supreme Court. Surely this court will order the city to recognize prop 2. So, the mayor will have turned out to have wasted our money again.

Posted by: realbad on December 30, 2004 9:48 AM