The Arizona Daily Independent has a news report of this matter. Here is a link for you to read it. In addition, we have included the full text of Oro Valley's press release on the matter at the end of this posting.
The Oro Valley Town Clerk, Julie Bower, rejected the petitions submitted by TOOTHINOV.ORG. So, the decision by the town council will stand. Oro Valley will purchase the El Conquistador Country Club.
According to the TOOTHINOV.ORG web site, TOOTHINOV.ORG is weighing legal options.
The rejection was based on the fact that the petitions did not include a reference number that the town assigns to filings.
Lamonna sought town review of the petition as it was designed before starting the petition process. The town advised her that it was not their role to provide legal advice.
As Lamonna related to us: "They told me all along that they could not give legal advice. While I have heard that some towns will confer with you if you take the petition in and ask them, Oro Valley is not one of them. They continue to refer you to the Secretary of State handbook for directions."
The reasons for the rejection were stated in a memo dated January 20 from Oro Valley clerk Bower to TOOTHINOV.ORG. These are:
"...none of the petition sheets contained the petition serial number. In addition, the following errors were also found:Regardless of the how this turns out, there are more than 3.100 registered Oro Valley voters who were sufficiently concerned about the purchase to sign the petition. This number is far more than the number that would be required to force a recall of any council member.
- Sheets not attached to a copy of the title and text of the measure
- Sheets containing a circulator's affidavit that is not completed or signed
- Sheets on which the affidavit of the circulator is not notarized, the notary's signature is missing, the notary's commission has expired or the notary's seal is not affixed
- Sheets on which the signatures of the circulator or the notary are dated earlier than the dates on which the electors signed the face of the petition sheet
- Sheets on which the circulator of the petition has not stated whether he is a paid or volunteer circulator (as required by ARS 19-101)"
Text Oro Valley Press Release:
Petition for referendum do not comply with state law; number of signatures on second petition effort falls short of requirement
Oro Valley, Arizona (January 20, 2015) - After processing the petition sheets submitted to the Oro Valley Town Clerk on Thursday, January 15, 2015, by the T.O.O.T.H. in OV referendum committee, it has been determined that the petitions do not comply with state law, therefore, any signatures on them are invalidated.
The petition sought to refer to a ballot the December 17, 2014 Town Council decision to acquire the El Conquistador Country Club and its related amenities.
According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 19-111 (B), it is mandatory that the petition serial number appear in the lower right hand corner of both the front and back of the petition. The submitted petitions did not bear the assigned serial number. This provision was included as a requirement in the materials provided to the referendum committee.
Since serial number requirement is a matter of state law, the Town of Oro Valley does not have the authority to override that requirement. Numerous case laws make it clear that strict compliance with all statutes is required for a referendum. See Western Devcor, Inc. v. City of Scottsdale, 161 Ariz. 426, 814 P.2d 767 (1991); and numerous other cases.
Upon receipt of the January 15 petitions, the Town Clerk recognized and indicated that the documents did not contain the serial number. The following day, January 16, the same group of citizens filed an application for another referendum petition with similar language under the name of T.O.O.T.H. in OV 2, and gathered signatures to submit by the 5 p.m. deadline.
The T.O.O.T.H. in OV 2 petitions were submitted by deadline and processed by the Town Clerk's Office; however, the second set of petitions fell short of the minimum 1,148 signatures required.
As of 5 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015, the deadline to submit petitions has passed.