Milwaukee Aldermen Bob Donovan and Joe Davis, Sr. announced a citywide petition drive on Monday, January 5th — to force a binding referendum on funding for the proposed downtown streetcar project. Their goal — 31,000 signatures in 60 days.
Donovan and Davis plan to run against each other for mayor in 2016. But now, they are teaming up — opposed to Mayor Tom Barrett’s $123 million streetcar proposal.
“My constituents have made it very clear that they don’t see a return on investment in this particular initiative,” said Alderman Davis.
“You can support this, you can oppose it. I am simply saying give the people a voice,” said Alderman Donovan.
From Citizens For Responsible Government:
A broad coalition of City of Milwaukee constituents is fighting to stop an ill-advised and wasteful proposal to build a 2.4 mile, fixed-rail streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee.
CRG Network has agreed to provide legal, technical, and logistical support for a direct legislation petition to require a referendum by City of Milwaukee voters prior to the construction of any taxpayer supported rail project over 20 million dollars. Here is the text of the proposed direct legislation.
Prior to the start of any physical construction of any municipally financed (in whole or in part) rail transit system requiring a capital expenditure of $20 million or more in municipal funds or funds guaranteed by or supported by an express or implicit promise of the City, whether or not such promise is legally enforceable, the Common Council shall submit to the electorate a binding referendum for approval of the construction of the system. Failure of the referendum shall preclude the City from proceeding with or otherwise permitting construction of such system or any part thereof using any City funds or revenues. The wording of the referendum shall provide the specific purpose, location, and the total estimated construction costs of the system, including an estimate of the costs to be funded directly or indirectly by the City. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the City from exercising its role in the engineering, planning or design of an urban rail transit system.
What is Direct Legislation?
Wisconsin’s Direct Legislation Statute, section 9.20, gives voters a direct voice in local matters and provides a procedure by which voters may compel local government to pass or put before the public for a popular vote a proposed ordinance or resolution. You can read more about direct legislation in this excellent article found on the Wisconsin State Bar website.
How Many Signatures are Needed to Pass Direct Legislation?
Petitioners must collect signatures equal to 15% of the number of votes cast at the last gubernatorial election. That number is 30,800 signatures but the goal is 35,000 signatures given that some signatures may be disallowed for various technical reasons.
How Long Do Citizens Have to Collect the Signatures?
By staute, citizens have 60 days to collect the necessary signatures. However, the goal is collect and file them before the next Common Council vote scheduled for January 21. 2015. This deadline date may change for various reasons such as a rescheduling of the Common Council vote.
Who Can Sign the Petition?
Only eligible voters residing in the City of Milwaukee can sign the petition. You are not required to be a registered voter, only an eligible voter (i.e. at least 18 years of age, reside in Milwaukee, voting privileges not suspended).
Who Can Circulate the Petition?
You do not have to reside in Milwaukee to circulate a petition. Any person eligible to vote anywhere in the U.S. can circulate a petition for signature.
Where Can I Get Copies of the Petition?
You can preview and print the petition online by clicking here. You can also pick up copies of the petition at any of the events and locations listed below (this list will be updated frequently).
Tuesday, January 6th, 5PM to 7PM
5101 W. Oklahoma
Milwaukee, WI 53219
(there will be 10-minute petition training sessions every half hour at this event).
Where Do I Return Completed Petitions?
Completed petitions can be returned by mail, dropped off at the events and locations listed below, or you can request a pick-up by phone. Note that petitions must be return no later than 1 day prior to the deadline date for filing the petitions (currently January 21, 2015)
PO Box 371086
Milwaukee, WI 53237
Leave a message with your address and a location the petitions can be found if no one will be at home.
DROP OFF LOCATIONS
To be determined. If you have a location willing to serve as a drop-off point please call our hotline at 414-801-0800.