NYC CAN Breaking News Bulletin - FORWARD WIDELY
September 10, 2009
In an earlier letter from the City Clerk dated July 24, 2009, the City had claimed only 26,003 signatures were valid, 3,997 short of the requisite 30,000. The City's concession that over 30,000 of the 52,000 signatures submitted were in fact valid paves the way for lawyers from both sides to argue the legality of petition.
Asked whether he thought NYC CAN could overcome the City's challenge to the legality of the petition, legal counsel to the petitioners, Dennis McMahon, said, "Absolutely. Although the City has an incredibly successful record of shooting down ballot initiatives, we will be arguing from a fresh perspective that reflects the unprecedented events of 9/11. We believe the courts will see how critical an issue this is, and be persuaded with our legal reasoning and point of view." A final determination on the legality of the petition will be reached in time for the referendum to be included on the November ballot should the petitioners prevail.
Representatives for NYC CAN, 9/11 family member Manny Badillo and Executive Director Ted Walter, arrived at the Board of Elections on the morning of Wednesday, September 9, to assist the court-appointed referee in commencing a line-by-line review of the disputed signatures, only to learn the referee's review had been called off due to a last minute concession by the City. Mr. Badillo immediately got on the phone to inform others of the news.
"The City conceded we have 30,000 valid signatures. Big victory."
The City's concession comes as a result of the immense effort put forth by 50+ volunteers who gave more than 1,000 hours over a two week period from August 10 to August 25 to identify a total of 7,166 signatures that were wrongly invalidated by the NYC City Clerk and Board of Elections. On August 27, NYC CAN filed the 631-page Bill of Particulars cataloguing each of the 7,166 signatures it contended were in fact valid. NYC CAN submitted another 28,000 signatures on September 4 to guarantee the referendum will go on the ballot if they win the court case, bringing the total signatures submitted to 80,000.
631-page Bill of Particulars Filed on August 27
NYC CAN must deliver its memorandum of law in response to the City's motion for summary judgment by Monday, September 21. The City will be given an opportunity to reply before the referee's decision is made on Monday September 28. Fast-track appeals will likely follow no matter who wins. A final decision will have to be made by September 30.
If the referendum passes in November, it would lead to the creation of a local, independent commission with subpoena power that would be tasked with comprehensively reinvestigating the attacks.