That controversial downtown streetcar plan may have been killed by both San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and VIA Metro Transit, but the groups which have been circulating petitions against the streetcar say it is critical that the citizens be allowed to vote on a city charter change that would allow citizens a vote on any future rail projects, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The San Antonio City Attorney and City Clerk will announce today the results of a petition driver to put the issue on the November ballot.
Greg Brockhouse, an organizer of the petition driver, says it is important that the citizens be allowed to vote.
"An ordinance to stop the streetcar isn't enough," he said. "That can be undone by the next City Council that comes in."
Brockhouse says indications that city officials may reject the petitions due to a little known clause in state law which requires something called a 'circulators affidavit' to be submitted will result in streetcar opponents filing a lawsuit against the city. He says this will result in more expenses being billed to the taxpayers, and the city will lose in court, because circulator affidavits are only required for council member recall elections.
He says under state law, after the submission of more than 20,000 valid signatures, and he says his group's attorneys have already vetted the signatures and ruled them legal, the city has no choice but to place the issue on the November ballot.
"The City Council, and if you listen to Mayor Taylor, yes, they have killed the streetcar for now, but if you listen to their words, Mayor Taylor says it's just a 'pause,' VIA says it's just a delay.'
Brockhouse also says there is nothing under state law that makes a petition drive 'go away' just because City Council has approved resolutions relating to the project at hand.
The petitions would change the city charter so a vote of the people is required whenever any project is proposed that would tear up taxpayer owned streets to install 'rail infrastructure.'
"This isn't about the streetcar, the streetcar project may be good for the city someday," Brockhouse said. "This is about the people's right to vote."