It looks like the stage is being set for major confrontation on the Pier. If Vote On The Pier has enough verified petitions then what?
The safest approach for the Mayor would be to ask the Legal department to quickly draft an ordinance with ballot language and present it to City Council. If they vote it up the Mayor wins big time, if they vote it down the Mayor can just shrug his shoulders and blame it all on the City Council.
The key lies in how the ordinance, should we get to that point, is drafted and what the proposed ballot language is. Since the City attorney has already indicated he does not feel the petition drive is legally binding, he may not feel compelled to structure the proposed ballot language directly in line with the petition language. Then again he may.
If the language closely parallels the save the Pier petition, it gets voted down by City Council and the City is stuck with the LENS.
If the language is more along the lines "do you want to continue with the LENS or start over", then it will be a close vote with Nurse or Gerdes being the swing vote.
Will the Mayor give Legal any "direction" regarding the ballot language? Other than asking them to make it clear and legal, and adding in some sort of reasonable financial cap so the City doesn't get trapped into a voter mandate with no financial limit, probably not.
There will be the threat of lost sunk money and maybe even a thinly veiled threat of legal action from the current contractor.
Staff will go on and on about the Pier Visioning, the meetings ad-nausea while carefully avoiding talking about how they controlled citizen input.
All red herrings, but none the less effective.
All of this will get really confusing. if the Ordinance makes it to City Council.
Look for some double-entendre motions (those where when you vote yes, you are really voting no, or vice versa). Great whining and bleating from the arts segment on Council: Curran, Danner with some convoluted support from Kennedy.
Resolve from Nurse, firmness from Kornell and Newton and a worried and stressed Charlie Gerdes. Gerdes has done a great job so far, but if he bobbles this one it could be the end of what is turning out to be a great political career.
It will be great theater if it actually plays out.
Remember this, the Mayor can receive the petitions, have them verified and "take the whole thing under consideration" for future action since there is just not enough time to get the issue on the November ballot.
If that happens. Game over. LENS on.
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