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City responds to term limits mandamus

Here’s what the city had to say in response to the request that the Supreme Court vacate the district court ruling that let the 2015 term limits referendum stand and order an election for this November:

In an unusually blunt response filed last week, city attorneys accused plaintiffs’ attorney Eric Dick of an “unrelenting bum’s rush” and “near-hysterical ravings.”

“In short, (the plaintiff) cannot file a big pile of stuff, violate every rule designed to facilitate organization and efficiency, and expect other parties and the Court to try to sort through the mess and find any arguments and evidence in there on a ridiculously accelerated schedule,” lawyers from the City Attorney’s office wrote the state Supreme Court, responding to plaintiffs’ request to accelerate the case. “That is not due process. It is a tantrum.”

[…]

[The lower court ruling] positioned the case for a likely return to trial court for a hearing on the substance of whether the city’s ballot language obscured the nature of the vote by asking whether voters wanted to “limit the length for all terms.”

Dick was anxious for a faster resolution.

“Because of the crucial election timelines, there are extraordinary circumstances,” Dick wrote in a request for Supreme Court intervention.

He followed up last week with a motion to expedite after the court asked the city to reply by July 3, less than two months before the Aug. 21 deadline to call a November election.

See here for the previous update. I wish I had a copy of the full city response, but alas they didn’t send it out. The statutory deadline for having an election is the end of August as noted above, but I figure the realistic deadline is the end of July. People need to have some time to decide whether or not to run; you can’t just spring this on everyone a week before then. I don’t put anything past this Supreme Court, but I agree that every passing day reduces the odds of an election, and if we make it to August without an order it’ll be like making it to October without a hurricane – technically, there’s still time, but in real life it ain’t happening. Stay tuned.

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7 Comments

  1. General Grant says:

    Still disappointing how sloppily this was implemented. I can’t speak to the merits of this legal case, but the plan itself was poorly conceived, and I say this as someone completely opposed to term limits. If we just HAVE to have longer terms (which is quite a different thing than term limits, which this plan only slightly affected), AT MINIMUM the Council terms should be staggered with half up every two years. AT BARE MINIMUM the five At Large seats should be staggered.

  2. PDiddie says:

    It seems the city’s attorneys — in Trump fashion — have decided that one tantrum deserves another, ten times worse.

    Shameful. Now I reallly hope the SCOTX gives us some muni elections this year.

  3. All due respect, but I disagree with having staggered terms. The difference in conditions between elections with the Mayor on the ballot and elections without the Mayor on the ballot would be too great. This is another reason why I prefer two-year terms.

  4. Joshua ben bullard says:

    I’m going to repeat myself, by the city charter its a part-time position Not full time, the ballot language never increased the duties Nor the pay there of,In other words its not harmful error for the tx supreme court to strike it and have the municipal elections this year,unless the language would have increased their duties and obligations to the citizens, in which this case it did not.#runem

  5. General Grant says:

    That is sort of the point, don’t have everybody elected in the same situation. Four years is too long for zero voter input. Due to census requirements, everybody should be elected in years ending in 1, then draw straws for the remaining decade, a la the State Senate. That said, I agree with you on the basic solution. Two year terms.

  6. N.M. Horwitz says:

    I find myself agreeing with Perry. What a quaint throwback to 2013.

    The City Attorney’s office’s theatrics are not helpful. Whether or not that plays in the court of public opinion is beside the point; SCOTX looks askance upon that type of stuff. And the disgraceful Pidgeon opinion from last week should make crystal clear that they relish any opportunity to mess with the Parker administration’s legacy.

    Charles, I agree with you that, all other things being equal, the odds of a snap election diminish by the day. But the Pidgeon opinion renewed my cynicism in a damning ruling. And despite Perry’s ad hominems about my father the last time I brought up this point, it bears repeating that the complacency around town at the prospect of 2017 municipals is alarming.

  7. PDiddie says:

    They’re not ad hominem at your Pop, Noah. They’re ad hominem at you.

    Lordy son, the world doesn’t need another dense lawyer. Get a grip.