That proposed downtown streetcar may be dead as far as the City of San Antonio is concerned, but for streetcar opponents, that's not good enough. They want the project buried at a crossroads, with a stake through its heart.
The Streetcar Vote Coalition is demanding that the San Antonio City Clerk immediately certify that the nearly 27,000 petition signatures opponents submitted earlier this month are in fact enough to get an anti streetcar charter change amendment on the ballot, and place the amendment on the ballot 'on the next available election date,' which would be November.
"July 28th was a great day for the citizens of San Antonio as their hard work paid off with the removal of City support for the downtown streetcar plan," Streetcar Vote spokesman Greg Brockhouse said. "However, the petition needs to be validated and we are asking the City Clerk and city Council to update us as soon as possible so we may make the best possible decision going forward on how to ensure a vote takes place on the petition."
Jerad Navijar, an attorney for the Streetcar Vote Coalition, says nothing in the state constitution allows the city not to validate a charter change petition, just because the mayor has asked the city to pull funding for the project.
"There is no justification for this delay, and the City Council may not prevent the Clerk from presenting her findings," Navijar said. "In fact, the City Clerk has a nondiscretionary duty to inform the government body of her findings without a request."
He cited a Court of Appeals ruling: "Based on the plain language of the Local Government Code, when a petition for a proposed charter amendment is presented, the City Secretary has a ministerial duty to verity that a sufficient number of qualified voters signed the petition, and then the governing body SHALL submit a proposed charter amendment to the voters for their approval at an election."
The City says the City Clerk plans to release the results of the charter amendment petition on August 6th, at a special council meeting where the council will consider Mayor Taylor's proposal for the city to pull its $32 million in funding for the project.
The board of VIA Metro Transit plans to meet later today to vote on the fate of the project following the city's action.