Following a long discussion last night, the City Council voted against an amendent that would have allowed “petitioners an additional ten days within which to gather additional signatures if the original petiton that is filed does not contain significant signatures to meet the current requirement.”
Councilor Ed Suslovic said he didn’t understand why this matter came to the council to change the rules for the group -Sensible Portland. ‘If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,” he said. Councilor Cheryl Leeman, who also opposed the change said that the requested 10 day extension is not the same as the state’s policy – it’s far more complicated than that. Making the city ordinance consistent with state law was the justification for Sensible Portland’s request for the city to change its policy. “No group has ever had a problem getting enough signaatures. This would be unfair to people who have gone before.”
Six councilors voted against the amendment and three voted in favor of it; they included Councilors Marshall, Donoghue and Duson.
Councilor Marshall intends to introduce a proposal that would allow for a “rollling submission” of names. Petitioners could come to the city clerk’s office periodically during the signature gathering process to see if the names collected are valid names and to keep better informed as to where they are in the process, although the city clerk described a very comprehensive set of instructions given to petitioners at the outset of the process.
The matter came up because a grass roots organization – Sensible Portland – failed to get enough names on its petitions to get on the November election and ask voters to direct the city’s police department to give marijuana enforcement a low priority within the police department. It failed to get enough names on its petitions to place the issue on the November ballot.