|You have asked us to review documents you received from the City Clerk, Mr. Michael P. Hanlon. Mr. Hanlon writes in his letter dated January 10, 2011 to you: Thus begins a nine page opinion to deny the voters of Allentown their rights|
UPDATE: From I have have been able to cobble together this morning, the same procedure was followed as was utilized on the successful Rental Inspection Ballot Initiative of 1998. It appears that the head of the Election Office, Tim Benyo, ruled that the city procedures were not in conformity with state law. One would think that the previous ballot initiatives would constitute a precedent. Poresky and his petition committee should certainly legally challenge Mr. Benyo's interpretation. I must also wonder why Mr. Benyo didn't inform the petitioners that they were not in compliance in a more timely fashion, allowing recourse on their behalf. These obstacles, now on both the city and county level, have the appearance of being politically orchestrated.
UPDATE 5:00PM: I have managed to secure a copy of the legal opinion written by the County Solicitor. In 1998 a local landlord challenged the Rental Inspection Ballot Initiative, and the City Charter procedure was upheld by the court. The solicitor bases his opinion denying this ballot question on the fact that unlike 1998, this question deals with a change in the city charter, not just an ordinance. Apparently Mr. Benyo sought the opinion of the solicitor: WHY? Who or what motivated him to question Allentown's referendum procedure now, on this question? As a layman, the opinion justifying the rejection of the ballot question appears laborious and meager. Hopefully, the petitioners will seek legal recourse.