Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spokane city attorney calls U.N. initiatives problematic

Posted on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Two initiatives drafted by local conservative activists could face difficulties in reaching the ballot, writes Mike Piccolo, assistant city attorney for Spokane, in a memo to the City Council.

"The first initiative is subject to legal challenge because it attempts to amend both the City Charter and the Spokane Municipal Code in one initiative," Piccolo concludes. "The second initiative suffers from the same infirmity." 

The initiatives, which take aim at the city's involvement in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), as well as the mayor's Sustainability Action Plan, were considered last week by the City Council. Before any vote was taken, the initiative's sponsor, Mike Fagan, said he wanted Piccolo to review them.

Fagan, who lost his bid for City Council last year, heads up the Spokane Patriots, a group that splintered from the local Tea Party of Spokane, which they thought was not action-oriented enough. 

Also in the memo, Piccolo takes on the initiatives' claim that the United Nations is attempting "to undermine the sovereignty of the United States and restrict the natural rights of the people of the United States."

"Without expressing an opinion as to the substance of this statement," Piccolo writes, "the initiative requires a factual determination presumably by a third party, mostly [sic] likely a judge."

Fagan and his group can still go out to collect the 8,300 signatures needed to reach the ballot. But with this review, a legal challenge of the initiatives appears likely. 

Read the entire memo here.

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