Star Local News reporter Chris Roark wrote in his March 2, 2010 piece that those involved with the petition group were hoping their efforts from a petition drive would lead to a special election may have to wait a while.
Virginia Simonson, a co-founder of the Flower Mound Cares petition group, told the Flower Mound Town Council on Monday that the group had collected enough signatures to place the proposal on the ballot for the May 8th general election.
Councilmember Al Filidoro suggested that the town council call a special meeting on Monday March 8, 2010 to discuss calling for a special election. Mayor Jody Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Jean Levenick and Councilmember Mike Wallace spoke against it. Levenick and Wallace said it would conflict with an already scheduled planning and zoning meeting.
Councilmember Tom Hayden suggested finding additional funding to help town Secretary Ms. Paula Paschal's office of four employees to verify the signatures. Levenick said it's not fair to put a burden on the secretary's office to verify that many signatures in four days.
Councilmen Filidoro was clearly pandering to the petition group. From an outsiders view, Mr. Filidoro was trying to make good on a promise to the petition group, as Mr. Hayden also tried a last minute effort to bring the issue to resolution.
This is the same group of people who have been saying that we have to slow things down. But in reality, that only pertains to issues that they object too. If it is their issue they want it passed in less than two weeks, without debate, nor showing the petition to the public, or the council members.
I find it distasteful the insults, and demonizing the Mayor has had to endure the past few months. Not to mention the latest round of insult hurling where she is described as arrogant, unaccountable, and sleazy. These people are blaming their own lack of transparency, and secrecy on the Mayor’s not seeing the petition. I have asked numerous times for a copy of the petition and been refused. A lot of residents have asked them to post a copy of the petition on their web-site and they have refused. People have asked them to publish a copy of the petition in one of the local news papers and again they have refused. I don’t think it’s the mayor’s responsibility to find a petition location just to read the petition. You would think if this group was serious, they would hand deliver one to her office.
I’ve listed the article and paragraphs from the town’s charter that pertain to petitions and “self-rule” if you will. These are the rules, and this is what you have to do if you want to get something on the ballot. And even though you have a couple of politicians on a string, they still have to obey the law. It is as follows:
According to Article VII paragraph 7.03 Town Secretary to Examine Petition. The town secretary's office has 10 day from the date that the petition is filed to verify the signatures. Upon her finding that the petition is sufficient in its requirements, and then she will immediately submit (but not later than 7 working days) the petition to the town council.
Then Article VII paragraph 7.04(1) (2), Council Either Pass Ordinance or Call Election. This section applies to a petition that has 15% of the voter’s signatures. In paragraph 1, town council has 45 days to either pass the ordinance, or 2, call a Special Election.
Article VII paragraph 7.05 applies to a petition that has at least 5% of the required signatures. After the town secretary attaches their certificate of sufficiency then after 30 days, it can be place on a ballot at the next "General Election".
Even if they did agree to a special meeting on Monday, that would not have gotten you on the ballot. Because of the rules for the 5%, you can only go on a ballot at the general election. (November 2010).
It was quite clear to some in the audience, and to those watching on FM-TV, that the petition group, and Mr. Filidoro were trying to pull some political hi-jinks. A clear majority of the council members and the Mayor were not going for that trick.
Mayor Jody Smith saw it for what it was, and wasn't going to have any part of it. Mayor Smith said "We're being played a political game". She was exactly correct, and rightly spoke out saying "We've been accused of working things fast, but this is a slippery eel."
Regardless of which side you come down on this drilling issue in Flower Mound, there are still laws and procedures that have to be followed. Like Mrs. Levenick so eloquently stated earlier in the discussion, "there are 38,000 register Flower Mound voters who didn't sign that petition, someone has to represent them". We don't live in a democracy, we practice democracy, but we live in a "Republic" which for those of you, who have forgotten, is a representative government. We don't vote up or down on ever issue. We vote for our fellow citizens to do that for us. Thank God.