Tag Archive | "Jerome Tao"

Nevada judge allows lawsuit against a ballot question to move forward

January 25, 2011

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By Kyle Maichle

BOULDER CITY, Nevada: A Nevada District Court Judge ruled that Boulder City can move forward with its lawsuit against five citizens who circulated a petition asking for a ballot question during the November 2010 election[1]

Judge Jerome Tao ruled on January 20, 2011, that the defendants in the case are not immune from the city’s litigation efforts. [1] Boulder City filed suit against the five individuals alleging that their petitions violated a city law that requires voter approval if Boulder City goes into a debt of $1 million or more. [1]

Attorney Tracy Strickland who represented the five circulators, along with his wife Linda, filed a motion on December 20, 2010, to dismiss the case. [1] Strickland’s motion argued that Boulder City engaged in a strategic lawsuit against political participation (SLAPP). [1] Also, the motion argued that the city violated an anti-SLAPP law protecting citizens engaged in their constitutional right to petition. [1]

During arguments, Tracy Strickland argued that the actions taken by Boulder City could have an “chilling effect” on citizens wanting to get involved in their city’s government. [1] City Attorney Dave Olsen was named in Strickland’s motion and argued that he “legally attacked” seven out of the last eight citizen initiatives considered in Boulder City. [1] Strickland also cited a Nevada statute that allows a court to review the proposed question without Boulder City suing the circulators. [1] One example that Strickland mentioned of the statute’s application was the City of Mesquite asking the Nevada Supreme Court to review the legality of a recently approved ballot question. [1]

Paul Larsen, who represented City Attorney Dave Olsen, argued that the city was not obligated to review the question without taking legal action[1]. Olsen further argued that the lawsuit was not intended to be punitive. [1] Larsen said: “we are not punishing people. If you propose legislation, it’s up to you to defend it…That’s how democracy works.” [1]

Strickland is planning to appeal the judge’s decision to the Nevada Supreme Court[1]