Monday, August 19, 2013

Lots of Signatures Tossed on City Pension Initiative, But It Still May Make the November Ballot

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Looks like the fate of the proposed initiative to scrap the city of Tucson's pension system and replace it with a 401(k)-style retirement plan remains up in the air.

Pima County Superior Court Judge James E. Marner ruled this morning that thousands of signatures must be tossed from the petitions, but the exact number remains unclear. Once those signatures have been stripped from the initiative, a new random batch of signatures will be sent to the Pima County Recorder's Office to determine the accuracy rate and then the Tucson City Clerk's Office will have to calculate whether there are enough to put the proposition before Tucson voters this November.

Attorney Jeff Rogers, former chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, tells The Range via email that the next steps are "complicated. Lots of signatures thrown out and back to square one for the City Clerk's Office."

We'll have more reaction as we get it and more details in this week's print edition. In the meantime, here's Marner's ruling, if you want to have your attorneys look it over: RULING_Parker_v._COT__C20134029.pdf

UPDATED: Lisa Hauser, attorney for the Committee for Sustainable Retirement, sends along this statement on Judge Marner's ruling:

It appears that the number of signatures disqualified by the Court will fall short of what the Plaintiffs needed to remove the initiative from the ballot—even if a new random sample is conducted. We are pleased that most of Plaintiffs allegations about unqualified circulators were rejected by the Court. Even so, it also appears that some of the findings made against the Committee were erroneous and that the number of disqualified signatures should be much lower. We are discussing our options with counsel.

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