Supreme Court: regular appeal process for fairgrounds question, please

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There's no emergency to Carson City's appeal on a fairgrounds ballot issue, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Friday.

City officials filed a petition with the court on Monday after District Judge Michael Griffin ordered a question sought by the Concerned Citizens to Save Fuji Park and the Fairgrounds on the ballot.

Rather than appealing Griffin's decision, the city sought a writ of prohibition from the high court, claiming that it needed an immediate decision from the Supreme Court in order to meet deadlines for preparing the ballot.

The city asked the court to prevent Clerk Alan Glover from placing the question on the ballot.

An order signed by Chief Justice Bill Maupin and justices Miriam Shearing and Nancy Becker said the city has ample time to appeal Griffin's ruling.

"We have considered this petition, and we are not satisfied that this court's intervention by way of extraordinary relief is warranted," reads the order. "Specifically, petitioner may appeal from the district court's order. We conclude that petitioner's right to appeal is a speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law precluding writ relief."

Carson City supervisors decided April 23 to appeal Griffin's decision to the Supreme Court, arguing they didn't want Carson voters to waste time campaigning for and against something they believe is illegal.

Jon Nowlin, a Concerned Citizen spokesman, said he expected the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal of Griffin's decision and to support their previous stances on similar issues, "which is to leave the issue on the ballot."

"This will just be a longer and more expensive process," Nowlin said. "The city has lots of money to spend on this. We don't. We're still assuming the Supreme Court will decide on our side of the issue."

The ballot question supported by 3,400 signatures asks for an ordinance for Fuji Park and fairgrounds to "be maintained and improved in not less than its present size as a park in perpetuity."

City attorney Mark Forsberg, who couldn't be reached Friday for comment, has argued the petition interferes with state-granted rights to sell property. City officials want to commercially develop the fairgrounds to compete for precious sales tax dollars threatened by large development directly south across the Douglas County line.

City leaders are planning a different advisory question for the November ballot which asks, "While retaining and improving the area known as Fuji Park, should Carson City make available for commercial development City property known as the Carson City Fairgrounds?"

Supervisors don't want two conflicting questions on the ballot and are slated July 15 to choose a question if the Supreme Court hasn't made a decision. Committees recruited to draft language for and against both potential ballot questions are to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in at City Hall, 201 N. Carson St.


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