Deadline hits for city to vet anti-rail petition
An anti-rail group should find out today whether its version of a question opposing the city's proposed $4 billion rail transit system will make the November general election ballot.
Today is the deadline for City Clerk Denise De Costa to determine if enough registered voters signed Stop Rail Now's petition. Today is also the group's last chance to get a state judge to rule in its favor on the number of signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot.
De Costa said yesterday she did not have a final count and gave no indication whether the group had enough signatures.
Meanwhile, Stop Rail Now said yesterday it expects to have about 35,000 verified signatures, according to its own process of checking the signatures with an online voter registration site.
While that number is unofficial, Stop Rail Now has to go back and ask Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto to reverse his previous ruling saying the group needs about 45,000 verified signatures.
The group contends it needs about 30,000.
Regardless of the outcome, there will be a ballot question for voters in November. The City Council and Mayor Mufi Hannemann have already approved creating a question to ask voters whether the city should build a "steel wheel on steel rail" system. That question will appear only if Stop Rail Now fails in its petition initiative.
"There's a possibility we could fail," said Dennis Callan, co-chairman of Stop Rail Now. "If that does happen, then the alternative is there with the City Council's version. But the City Council's action is a direct result of what we have done. Our work will not be in vain."
Callan said he prefers Stop Rail Now's question to be on the ballot after the group collected 49,041 signatures over the last four months.