Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lack of Legal Basis for a Special Election

David Chenoweth, on his blog, does what Amir Omar failed to do: make a legal argument for calling a special election to fill the vacancy in the mayor's seat. It's not a very good argument, but it's something.

Chenoweth argues that even though the charter explicitly says how a vacancy in the mayor's seat shall be filled (Section 3.03), it doesn't explicitly forbid the council from doing something else entirely. This is strange legal logic. It argues that the charter is a document of suggestions, not laws. Let's apply it elsewhere. For example, Section 3.01 says the council shall be composed of "six (6) members and a mayor" but it doesn't explicitly forbid having, say, eight (8) members, so by Chenoweth's logic, the council could name a couple of extra council members and everything would be kick ass. By this logic, the charter review commission better start going over the charter and adding "and shall have it no other way" to practically every section of the charter if we really want the charter to be a document of laws and not merely suggestions.

Chenoweth also makes an un-legal case, namely that he thinks the council is violating the charter in other places, so violating the charter here, too, is just as kick ass. Needless to say, I think that's a really bad argument, too.

Maybe this is why Amir Omar didn't try to make a legal case for a special election. He can't. Not unless he can come up with something better than Chenoweth.


dc-tm said...

Tongue in cheek, Yes, Kick-ass, and not as strange as some things that the city does. I figured I argue the point that the charter seems to be followed in some areas, and doesn’t seem to be followed in other areas, then why not go with the flow of the city attorney and read it in something other than simple English. Why not twist and contort words. I seem to remember him saying something to the effect to a judge that it is ok for Richardson to hold as many illegal meetings as it wants to.

About the word “Shall”: I think the city attorney argued in a law suit again Richardson, that “Shall” is directory, rather than mandatory and that “shall” means you kind of, sort of, ought to do it. Not that you have to.

No need to take it too seriously, unless you want to. Then, ok.

Thanks Mark :0)

Mark Steger said...

Thanks, David, for clarifying that your own blog post was tongue-in-cheek and shouldn't be taken seriously. That leaves us with no legal argument for calling a special election, exactly where we were at the end of Amir Omar's letter to the editor. I wonder if he wasn't serious about calling for a special election, either, only engaging in a bit of wishful thinking.

dc-tm said...

I have no idea one way or another. But wouldn't mind it if it happened.