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Friday, August 28, 2009

City Council to voters: No!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Citizens Take Action to Protect Constitutional Rights

Supporters of an independent Park Board, including two former Minneapolis Mayors, have filed suit against the City of Minneapolis to ensure that a proposed amendment to the City Charter is placed on the ballot this November.

The action comes after the Minneapolis City Council voted not to place the proposed amendment on the ballot. A petition requesting the amendment, which would declare the Park Board to be a “separate and independent governmental unit”, was submitted to the City with over 17,000 signatures on August 10.

“We are deeply disturbed that a majority of the City Council feels empowered to thumb their noses at thousands of citizens exercising their Constitutional right to petition for Charter change,” said Scott Neiman, chair of the Citizens for Independent Parks Committee (CFIP), which led the petition drive. “We believe strongly that the Council does not have the authority to refuse this petition,” added Neiman, “City residents have asked for a chance to vote on this issue, and we intend to make sure that happens.”

An opinion recently issued by University of Minnesota Law School Professor Fred Morrison maintains that the petition meets all legal requirements, and that the state Constitution requires the City to place the petition question on the November ballot.

Along with Neiman, a former President of the Minneapolis Park Board, the five Electors who led the petition drive include former Mayor and Congressman Don Fraser, former Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, former City Council Member Pat Scott, and former County Commissioner Mark Andrew. Over 250 volunteers participated in the petition drive, which began in early July.

For questions or additional press inquiries please contact Justin Fay at (612) 251-1457.

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