Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dry Petition Challenged

posted by Peter Rossi

Residents of the 39th precinct filed a complaint in Circuit Court challenging the petition to vote that precinct dry. Opponents of development at the Doctor's Hospital site gathered signatures to place a measure on the Nov 4th ballot which would make the precinct dry. This measure would effectively halt all mixed development in that Precinct and, quite possibly, in Hyde Park in general.

Under the law, a valid petition must gather signatures from at least 25 per cent of the registered voters in the precinct. The 39th which is bounded by Stony Island and Blackstone Avenues on the East and West and 56th and 59th Streets on the North and South has some 609 registered voters. This means that any valid petition must contain at least 152 valid signatures.

The complaint includes an exhaustive analysis of all signatures on the petition and alleges that over one half of the signatures are invalid, specifically that there are:

1. Signatures of non-registered voters
2. Signatures of Persons who reside outside of the 39th precinct.
3. Duplicate Signatures
4. Illegible signatures that do not appear to be signed by the appropriate registered voter
5. Improper signatures (initialed or printed entries)
6. Signature entries filled out by the circulator

In total, the complaint alleges that there are sufficient signatures to invalidate the petition and calls for the measure to be removed from the ballot.

In addition, the complaint alleges that there are "pervasive inconsistencies" in the petition and there is evidence that the some circulators perjured themselves by submitting incorrect addresses and incorrect affidavits. On these grounds, the complaint asks the court to strike the entire petition as invalid.

The legal support for this complaint was provided by the University.

This concludes the news aspects of this post and now for the "news analysis."

Sometime ago, I posted a spoof about Hyde Park NIMBYs exploding a neutron bomb at the Doctor's Hospital site. As per usual, fact is stranger than fiction in Hyde Park.

Planned by long time anti-development NIMBYs, this dry petition is a very nasty spot of blackmail that will do just that. If this measure passes, Doctor's Hospital will remain abandoned for the foreseeable future. But it is much worse that this, these irresponsible folks know that they are plowing salt into all future development in HP. Why would you open a restaurant or a hotel or a shopping area in HP when you know there are dedicated fanatics who will yank the carpet out from under your profits?

These people don't really care about preservation (Jim Peters: haven't they made a fool of you?). They exploit the concerns of Vista Homes residents to the end of personal power. That's right, folks. This is all about one or two people who want to have personal veto power on plans for Doctor's Hospital and other future development in Hyde Park.

We must defeat this petition soundly. Hats off to those residents willing to oppose this dirty trick and to the U for taking this seriously. This is not the way to resolve concerns about development. It is time to stop people who seek to destroy our neighborhood for their own personal political gain.


Stephen said...

Best news I've heard in a while. I've felt helpless, not being a resident of the 39th precinct. I've even considered a letter to the HP Herald...

Anonymous said...

Two other people considered letters to the Herald and followed through. They make good points. I'm really shocked the Herald printed them.

Tom said...

Totally agree Greg. I've always considered writing letters to the Herald, but end up not bothering since they usually just post the crazy ones or edit the good ones into oblivion.

The letters this week gave me hope that I might actually send one in in the future and have it survive mostly intact.

Anonymous said...

Needless to say I hope HPP will be following the results of this closely. I have high hopes of getting this nonsense quashed (and throwing a wrench in the NIMBY machinery, especially if they've falsified petitions, is an added bonus).

edj said...

I think the Herald is trying to be more careful with the letters to the editor. They know that the NIMBYs are falling out of favor and seem to be less heavy handed because they know their credibility is shot and people call them on their editing their letters. And I think Peter Rossi has said that the circulation is way down. And I'm sure ad revenue is down without the Co-op color ads. And the Extra seems particularly thin this week - fewer ads.

Aaron said...

Should this fail and the precinct be voted dry, has anyone considered whether or not it's possible to have the borders of the precinct redrawn? I'd love to see that entire strip along Stony designated some kind of special "development district."