Letter to the editor: Petition-signers should not worry
About 360 residents of Tonganoxie may have or will receive an official notice of a court action concerning the petition they signed recently. I don't want them to be concerned. This is just a formality required by the courts to say that they are aware of the city's action concerning the petition.
Petition-signers may not have been aware that the city does not think it would be legal to bring this question to a vote and that is why the city instructed Michael Kelly, city attorney, to have this question brought before a judge. By law, Mr. Kelly had to notify everyone who had an interest in this action. Petition-signers are not being sued. They will not have to hire an attorney. An attorney will be representing all the voters who signed this petition.
Petition-signers do not have to go to court, unless they would like to. They will be notified when the judge makes his ruling on whether we can bring this issue to a ballot. According to the legal notice, petition-signers have 20 days to respond, but this just means that the legality of this question will be going before a Leavenworth county judge after this amount of time. There are no legal actions being taken against petition-signers personally -- just a legal action against the petition and what we asked council members to do.
We have been told that city voters are not allowed to vote when an administrative action is being taken by the city. That is what this all boils down to. We asked people to sign a petition for the right to vote, and enough voters said they would like the chance to vote. The city does not think it is legal to let us vote, so it has asked a judge to decide.
I don't want anyone to be afraid to sign a petition in the future. It is our right as citizens to carry a petition. It is our right to sign any petition that will bring an issue to a public vote. It is our right to ask for our opinion to be heard on any and all subjects. Don't let this lawsuit prevent you from exercising your rights.