Reno case could influence Supreme Court in Fuji case
June 26, 2002
A recent decision by a Washoe County judge supports the Carson City’s position going into a Supreme Court hearing on Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Mark Forsberg said.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against allowing a initiative petition ordinance to appear on the November ballot. The petition, submitted by the Concerned Citizens to Save Fuji Park asking that Fuji Park and the Carson City fairgrounds be “maintained and improved in not less than its present size as a park in perpetuity,” was signed by 3,400 Carson City voters.
While Carson supervisors rejected the ordinance, they agreed to place an alternate, advisory question on the ballot. The Concerned Citizens took their case to court.
Forsberg said a recent decision by District Judge James Hardesty disallowing a ballot spot for a similar initiative petition to ban the construction of Reno’s train trench counters the April decision of Carson District Judge Michael Griffin to allow the Concerned Citizen’s petition on the ballot.
Forsberg said Hardesty’s decision lends credence to the city’s argument that the petition attacks the city’s ability to sell land, an administrative function above the effects of the initiative petition process.
“The district judge that decided the case there ruled exactly as we want the Supreme Court to rule, that it’s an unconstitutional use of the initiative process,” Forsberg said.
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Concerned Citizen attorney Julian Smith said the Reno decision had some different aspects, and he continued to disagree with both Forsberg and Hardesty’s interpretation of administrative local government actions,
“There isn’t a clear-cut line between administrative and legislative,” Smith said. “Our case is just as strong. I guess we’ll find out Thursday.”
Forsberg said the court probably won’t make a decision for several weeks, but “because of the urgency of the situation of making the decision, we hope to hear from them quite soon.”
City leaders have looked at commercial development at the city’s fairgrounds off Old Clear Creek Road as a way to compete with commercial development just over the Douglas County line. Backlash in the community created the Concerned Citizens’ movement, and forced city leaders to postpone development plans in favor of an advisory vote on the issue.
Supervisors tentatively committed to a mid-July date to choose which of the questions they will place before voters.
IF YOU GO
What: Nevada Supreme Court hearing on a Fuji Park and fairgrounds ballot question
When: 1:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Nevada Supreme Court, 201 S. Carson St.