Aug 14 Houston City Council Balks at 34,000 Food Sharing Petitions





Attorney Randall Kallinen’s letter to Houston City Council sent Aug. 14, 2012

Dear Mayor Parker and City Council members and concerned others,

I represent myself as a citizen. Please call the City Council meeting now to put Houston’s food sharing ordinance on the November ballot. Yesterday, August 13, 2012, at about 1:45 PM over 34,000 petition signatures were handed in to put the City’s food sharing ordinance on the November ballot. The City Secretary herself accepted them and asked what they were and she was told they were 34,000 petition signatures regarding the Food ordinance for the November ballot. Anna Russell has been with the City for a very long time and knows all the deadlines regarding petitions. You were told today in open session over 20,000 were verified Houston voters and met all requirements. Today no less than 12 people came to City Council speaking in favor of putting it on the ballot. We were falsely told it is too late and that the City Attorney send out a letter informing all councilmembers and the Mayor of all deadlines. Of course the City Attorney is wrong that it is too late and that was pointed out in today’s front page Chronicle story and to you at City council meeting today. First of all counting the total number of signatures could easily have occurred by now with two people.

Then to verify 20,000 voter signatures would only take a few days with enough people through the computerized voter databases. The City Secretary has seem many petitions–it is not rocket science having verified my own voter petition signatures when I ran for district court judge.

There is no need even to count verifieds before noticing the meeting and meet the three day requirement of noticing a City meeting. It is obvious it could have happened yesterday, today, or tomorrow as examples and then the counting verifieds could finish before the meeting. Experts have told me that the City of Houston could easily verify the 20,000 necessary voter signatures in a few days if it wanted to.

Last Tuesday’s City Council meeting contained three charter amendments put on the ballot by the City Council without any petition. By the way some of those charter amendment seem designed merely to put a two year ban on future charter amendments such as the food ordinance amendment. Likewise, this ordinance can be put on the ballot without regard to any verified signatures if you have the will to do so. Everyone knows this.

Also, the City could do a quick statistical analysis by picking two hundred random signatures and verifying them. Lets say there is a 80% verified voter signature rate (160 good signatures per the 200) then merely multiply 80% by 34,000 signatures and you get 27,200 verified signatures. It is obvious that this could have happened already with only a couple of people working.

It is clear that the food ordinance petition is not late and only the City’s conscious desire to keep it off the ballot is what will keep it off the November ballot. Notice the meeting now please.

Randall L. Kallinen
511 Broadway Street
Houston, Texas 77012
Telephone: 713/320-3785
FAX: 713/893-6737