Fur Flies Over Library Location
Stack of Legal Documents Grows
On September 9, the Save Our Library WP Political Action Committee filed suit requesting the court to overturn the City Commission’s approval of the City Clerk’s Certificate of Insufficiency of Petition.
PAC Sues the City to Accept Petition
Save Our Library PAC members circulated a petition proposing an ordinance to prohibit a library from being built in Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Park. They gathered the required number of signatures, had the signatures certified by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, and presented the petition to the City. The Winter Park City Clerk declined to accept the petition on grounds that it was “insufficient.”
Referendum Ordinance or Petition Ordinance?
The Clerk’s finding of “insufficiency” was based on the claim that the petition represented a referendum ordinance rather than a petition ordinance. Basically, a referendum ordinance calls for the repeal of an ordinance the City has already passed – in this case, the $30 Million bond referendum. An initiative ordinance seeks to adopt a new ordinance – in this case, that no library may be built in MLK Park.
WPPL Trustees Speak Out
An “Open Letter to the Winter Park Community“ from the Board of Trustees of the Winter Park Public Library states, in part, “Efforts to halt the construction of the library in Martin Luther King, Jr., Park ARE actions against the new library.” The Trustees’ letter continues, “They [the efforts] are also significant in that they are an attempt to overturn the results of an election by eliminating the only viable site for the library-events center project. . . .”
For the full text of the letter, click here.
The Library will launch an e-newsletter to keep citizens informed on the library progress. Readers may subscribe by going to the wppl.org website.
City Sues State & WP Taxpayers for Bond Validation
Meanwhile, the City has sued the State and all Winter Park property owners, requesting the court validate the issuance of bonds for the purpose of building a library, events center and related parking structure. Although both the ballot language and the public notices that preceded the election were silent as to the location of this structure, the City has proceeded assuming the location was generally understood, and has included language specifying the MLK location in its Amended Complaint for Validation.
Legal Question? or Political Question?
Today, Assistant State Attorney Richard Wallsh filed a Motion to Strike Portions of Amended Complaint and a Motion to Vacate Order to Show Cause, asking the Court to strike references to the MLK Park location in the City’s Amended Complaint that seeks validation of the bonds. (Case No. 2016-CA-6063-0, Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida, in and for Orange County, Florida)
In Paragraph 7 of his Motion to Strike Portions of Amended Complaint, Wallsh writes: “The selection of MLK Park as the construction site was never a portion of said ordinance or referendum. The inclusion of the site is not a proper subject for determination by this court. . . . That is a political issue for the city to resolve.”
Wallsh continues, “Plaintiff city is overreaching in its attempt to obtain judicial imprimatur for a hotly contested political decision regarding the location of the project for which bonds have been sought to finance.”
Hearing Set for October 20
Wallsh has requested the court either set a hearing for his motion prior to October 20 or move the October 20 date forward.