Tag Archives: referendum

Erie County Legislature Downsizing: On Ballot Tuesday #WNYVotes #ECLEG

27 Oct

The Erie County Legislature downsizing referendum (15 to 11) will appear on the ballot next week.  My understanding is that it may even make it to the front page of that ballot, which will be helpful.

The Appellate Division in Rochester yesterday affirmed Judge Sedita’s earlier ruling, noting that minor technicalities should not thwart the will of the people, and that the board of elections abused its discretion by rejecting the referendum in the first place.

What we need to do is merge Erie County with the City of Buffalo, have a metropolitan government, a unified school system, 9 city councilpeople, 3 at-large seats, and a Metropolitan professional city manager.  The upcoming green code and a regional planning board with actual powers ought also be implemented.

All done reform.


Substance > Form on Downsizing Referendum (UPDATED)

4 Oct

The referendum to downsize the Erie County Legislature from 15 to 11 members is temporarily on hold. The EC BOE commissioners ruled that the referendum paperwork was improperly transmitted to the BOE by the clerk of the legislature, rather than the county clerk.  Under section 4-108 of the Election Law,

Whenever any … referendum … is to be submitted to a vote of the people of a county … at an election conducted by the board of elections, the clerk of such political subdivision, at least thirty-six days prior to the election at which such proposal, proposition or referendum is to be submitted, shall transmit to each board of elections a certified copy of the text of such proposal, proposition or referendum and a statement of the form in which it is to be submitted. If a special election is to be held, such transmittal shall also give the date of such election.

So, because the political subdivision at issue is the county, the county clerk “shall transmit” a certified copy of the proposed referendum.  That language seems pretty straightforward.

I don’t know what the case law says, but the argument would be that a statute such as this should be construed liberally, and technicalities having to do with procedure and form shouldn’t thwart the substantive work of the people or their representatives.

Downsizing guru Kevin Gaughan has already filed a suit to overturn the BOE’s decision, and some county legislators are expected to do the same.  I hope the courts let substance triumph over form.

UPDATE:  Erie County Legislator Ray Walter (R-LD4) adds this in comments:

Look at Municipal Home Rule Law section 25 in regards to the submission of local laws for referendum. MHRL section 2 defines the “clerk” as the clerk of the board of supervisors which is equivalent to the county legislature. Section 2.03 of the Erie County Administrative Code provides that:

“…the form and procedure for the adoption of a local law, including referendum, mandatory or permissive, shall be as provided in the New York state municipal home rule law.” Plus the BOE accepted a local law for referendum last year that was certied by the clerk of the Legislature but now that’s not good enough? If that’s not arbitrary what is?


24 Feb

If they can sell beer in a supermarket and not run Consumer Beverage out of business, they can sell wine in a supermarket and not run your friendly neighborhood liquor store out of business.

For starters, liquor stores can also sell liquor in addition to wine – supermarkets can’t and won’t. Also, a store like Premier – or even your corner liquor store – can offer service and/or selection that trumps the obvious convenience of supermarket wine departments. There are loads of ways to compete, and the liquor store owners who are complaining are naturally trying to limit competition.

Yet, somehow California and other states manage to sell wine in their supermarkets and the Earth somehow continues to rotate on its axis and orbit the earth in an elliptical fashion.

Of course, in normal places, the voters get a direct say.

(Photo courtesy Mike Subgenius @ Flickr)