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Council votes to keep Culinary measures off the ballot

Two measures challenging Las Vegas’ redevelopment efforts and a proposed new city hall are "legally defective" and should not be put on the June 2 municipal ballot, the City Council decided this morning.

The decision could set up a court fight between the city and the Culinary Union, which has backed the two ballot efforts.

Once again, unemployed members of Laborers Local 872 packed the council chambers to show support for building a new city hall, and the room erupted in rowdy cheers and chants of "8-7-2! 8-7-2!" after the council voted to keep the measures off the ballot.

City Attorney Brad Jerbic sharply criticized the two measures, saying they ventured into areas not covered by the initiative and referendum process.

The proposed referendum would repeal the city’s redevelopment plan, which defines areas of the city that are eligible for incentives and grants to entice development and improvement. Jerbic said that unconstitutionally interferes with existing contracts with developers and would lead to a legal apocalypse.

"The chaos that would ensue … will trigger a wave of lawsuits that will make previous civil cases in this state pale by comparison," he said.

The initiative would require voter approval on lease-purchase projects. Lease-purchase is the financing method being considered for the new city hall.

That would be taking away power from the city’s redevelopment agency, which is contrary to state law, Jerbic said.

The law allows the agency to be governed only by members of the City Council or a board appointed by the City Council, he said.

"We’re going to look at the memo and certainly in the next few days we’ll make a decision" about a court challenge, said Chris Bohner, Culinary’s research director. "Our attorneys are familiar with all the arguments that they advanced, and we’re very confident in the legality of the initiative and referendum."

 

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

 

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