Lawsuit Filed for City Commission Change - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

12.07.06

Lawsuit Filed for City Commission Change

Single Member Districting is an issue that just won't go away in Amarillo.

Some people are now saying the way people voted was illegal and have filed a lawsuit against the city.
     

NewsChannel 10's Jennifer Best  has the story on this evolving issue.

When people went to the polls in November they voted for or against one issue.... Calling for single member districting as well as increasing the number of city commissioners.
   

Here's where the disagreement comes in.... Some say those are two separate issues and should not have been joined together as one.

"All we are saying is do it the proper way....follow the law and for pete sake if the leaders of the city can't follow the law then you have to take them to task." Philip Russ is a local attorney who filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Amarillo.
  

He was hired by one of committee members who started the petition which allowed single member districting to be on the ballot. Russ says the city originally had the proposals as two separate items... But changed it into one and that's the way it ended up on the ballot.
      

Russ says Texas state law says you have to separate every single proposal. " We think the statute is clear it says if there is a separate question for the voter to pass on it has to be on a separate proposition on the ballot, that you can't bundle or bunch them up."
  

The City of Amarillo sent us this official comment.  It says the city denies the accusations in the lawsuit.  The city firmly believes that state law supports having both items in one proposition.
    

According to the city, state courts have previously ruled that if a single subject has several elements, it may be submitted in one proposition. 
 

Russ argues combining theses item could have affected the way people voted. He says the city has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. It could be settled between the two or go to trial.
     

Russ says if they win the city will have another election. He says if the city wins... Things will stay as is. 

NewsChannel 10 will be following this story and keep you updated with what the city does and if there will be another election. 

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