Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Litster Fails to Gather Enough Valid Signatures

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 8:37 PM

Last time I called the Boise City Clerk’s office, I was informed that my blocky, black scrawl on a Public Records Request form was, to quote the perky receptionist, “illegible.” They were a nice bunch, though, and they eventually helped this befuddled reporter through the hoops.

Today, when I called Deputy City Clerk Wendy Burrows-Johnson, I got another lesson in the importance of properly completed paperwork, but at least this time it wasn’t my mistake.

City Council candidate David Litster’s recent promise of a petition calling for a public vote on the proposed streetcar was fulfilled yesterday. At least, Litster, who has made denouncing the streetcar a pillar of his campaign, submitted the initial paperwork.

“I am filing this proposed initiative petition language, as required by city code, because current law allows only three council members plus Mayor [Dave] Bieter to impose on the taxpayers a tiny trolley and a $20 million tax bill,” stated Litster in his Oct. 15 press release.

Burrows-Johnson said that while Litster had more than the necessary 20 signatures needed for the preliminary petition, some of them were not valid. Article 1, Chapter 22 of Boise City code states that anyone who signs an initiative petition must be a registered voter within the district. When the clerk’s office receives a petition, they run through a list of voters to verify names.

“He only had 16 valid signatures of the necessary 20. He had 23 on there total,” Burrows-Johnson told BW.

She went on to discuss the necessary steps taken to rectify the petition, which include resubmitting the signatures. Once Litster does that, he’ll have 75 days to get, and verify, the remaining 6,440 signatures needed to get the petition in front of City Council.

TJ Thomson, Litster’s sole opponent, said he’d be happy to sign Litster’s petition should he come to Thomson’s doorstep.

“Yes. I will be the first signature on the list,” Thomson said.

And does Litster want his signature?

“We’d be happy to have him on board,” Litster said.

He’s pragmatic about the city’s rejection of his initial petition.

“That often happens with these things,” Litster said. “You know, you go out and ask people, ‘you’re registered to vote,' right?’”

Of course, since the names of registered voters are public record, Litster could have verified the names himself before turning them in.

“We’re gettin’ another one turned in today,” Litster added.

The rejection from the city came as Litster also announced a slate of new endorsements, that of all of the Ada County Commissioners, Fred Tillman, Rick Yzaguirre and Sharon Ullman; as well as five local members of the Idaho Legislature; Max Black, Cliff Bayer, Russ Fulcher, Raul Labrador and Mike Moyle.

Black, chairman of the House Business Committee, summed up the announcement:

“I speak for every member in the group in saying that Dave Litster has our strong support for Seat 4 on the Boise City Council. Dave understands first-hand both the pressures of raising a family and the day-to-day challenges facing private enterprise. We need more, not less, of that expe rience on the Boise City Council.”

Thomson has racked up a lengthy list of endorsements himself in recent months.

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