Friday, December 10, 2010

Federal Lawsuit Update 11

One thing I’ll say for Paul Kendall and his quixotic judicial attempt to revive the Turf Valley referendum effort, he’s tenacious. After being denied by the courts at every turn, he recently took a road trip to Richmond for his last stand in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

According to this story by Kellie Woodhouse in The Columbia Flier, the plaintiffs and their attorney Susan Gray, are attempting to frame the rejection of their petition by the HoCo Board of Elections as a denial of constitutional rights.

“In her oral arguments, Gray equated the right to referendum with the right to vote. She said the current restrictions are “totally and unduly burdensome” and have “the result of circumventing the right of referendum.”

The HoCo Board of Elections and their attorney, Gerry Richmond, contends that the real issue is that Kendall, and his buddy Marc Norman, simply failed to follow directions.

"Richmond and his co-counsel, Kathleen Wherthey, thought differently. They said the issue was Kendall’s failure to follow directions.

“This was a signature case, I don’t think it’s a referendum case or a right-to-vote case,” he said.

According to Wherthey, the referendum literature asks a signee to print his or her full name.

“It’s strange to me that half of the people who signed this petition failed to do so,” she said.”

Despite attempts to try and frame this failed petition drive as an assault against citizens rights what this is really about is keeping non union grocers (Harris Teeter and Wegmans) from entering or expanding in HoCo. The food workers union employees (the majority of whom do even live in HoCo) collected over 90% of the petition signatures. The same union has continued to support the ongoing legal battles.

A decision from the Court of Appeals is expected in January.
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