The neighbors who live near the Maybell orchard have qualified a referendum for the ballot, Measure D, which will be voted on November 5. They are a completely volunteer group of parents, seniors, and concerned neighbors, who want to see developments in the residential neighborhood respect the zoning (or even just close to it), and for development to put the safety of kids first.
The other side, of course, is well-funded and has already hired a political campaign consultant to run their campaign. Neighbors have been passing the hat at informal meetings. But now, at least, they have a real campaign fund, overseen by Timothy Gray and complying with fair elections practices. Now they need some funds!
One of the most important and most urgent matters they are facing is the need to ensure an impartial ballot. When citizens want to fight City Hall, they have the democratic check and balance of bringing matters to the vote through referendum or initiative. Unfortunately, as they have discovered, even when the City is a party to the dispute - as they often are for any referendum - the City gets to write the ballot question and "impartial analysis".
How can that be? That Cities, as parties to these conflicts, get to control what goes to the voters as "impartial"? How can an election be fair when even the question voters are asked can be biased (as we believe it is here)?
Maybell neighbors want to ensure the impartiality of the ballot, but it turns out there is no explicit process short of hiring an elections firm and file in court to have a judge decide.
It also turns out that there is very little time to do this, just 10 days, and lacking any budget, a few neighbors spent much of that time trying to just express their concerns and work things out with the City themselves, to no avail. If they are going to file, they must do so by tomorrow or Friday, and the legal time is expensive.
Please consider contributing to the No Rezone Maybell campaign. If you wish to help neighbors ensure the fairness and impartiality of the ballot, please include a note to that effect and donate soon!