Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Poinography discovers a promising stop-rail strategy

by Larry Geller

Doug White ( is exceptionally good at digging down to the basic rule, regulation, law or (in this case) charter as the basis of his nightly analysis of the news. While I was pondering, along with many Honolulu newspaper readers no doubt, “what is gonna happen next with this stop-rail petition, now that the city clerk won’t accept it?” Doug has discovered what might be the stop-rail conspirators’ hidden strategy.

If they haven’t actually thought of this on their own, they owe Doug big time.

This is a snippet from his article this evening:

I see nothing in the charter language about the duties of the clerk to prohibit the clerk from simply accepting or taking any action on a petition for a special initiative election within 180 days of a general election. The charter only says that a special initiative election may not be held if an election is scheduled within 180 days of the submission of the proposal. Further, the charter also says that the duties of the clerk are to verify the signatures, reject petition pages that are not accompanied by the proper affadavit, and that the clerk shall process the petition within 20 days. That’s it. There is no language prohibiting the clerk from processing, rejecting unaffadavited pages, and verifying signatures within 180 days.

Ironically, since the petition has been described in the media as being short a few thousand signatures of the 15% threshold, that “failure” would seem to work to the petitioners’ advantage here. The charter also says “provided that if the clerk certifies less than fifteen percent but at least ten percent, the proposed [special initiative election] ordinance shall be submitted at the next general election or scheduled special election.”

Thus, if I were a lawyer or advising the petitioners (and I’m not either of those things), I would suggest that they submit the signatures already on hand (greater than 10% but less than 15%) and thereby become entitled to a spot on the next general election ballot. Which is what they want anyway, so far as I understand it.

Since everyone important reads Doug’s blog, let’s see what both sides make of this.


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