Town Square

Election 2008: Matt Sullivan runs for second term to represent the people

Original post made on Oct 13, 2008

With a goal to provide representative government to the people, Councilman Matt Sullivan is running for a second term on the City Council. Sullivan said he supports the Stoneridge Drive extension only after other transportation improvements are made to State Route 84, Interstate 580 and extending Dublin Boulevard east to El Charro Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 10, 2008, 12:13 PM


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 13, 2008 at 4:49 pm

"Sullivan added that while he doesn't completely agree with PP, he supports citizens' rights to petition their local government."

The right to petition government is in the First Amendment. It includes the right of the citizens to assemble, lobby representatives or sue government. It does not extend to the right to make or rescind law through the initiative and referendum process. The first step to supporting citizen rights is to understand what they mean first.

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Posted by RJ
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Oct 14, 2008 at 1:33 am

OK, Stacey.

Educate us as to what "citizen rights" mean. I'm always willing to learn...:)

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Posted by don't like corrupt government
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Hey “Stacey”,

According to the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, “Petitioning the Government has come to signify any nonviolent, legal means of encouraging or disapproving government action, whether directed to the judicial, executive or legislative branch. Lobbying, letter-writing, e-mail campaigns, testifying before tribunals, filing lawsuits, supporting referenda, collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, peaceful protests and picketing: all public articulation of issues, complaints and interests designed to spur government action qualifies under the petition clause, even if the activities partake of other First Amendment freedoms. In United Mine Workers of America v. Illinois State Bar Association (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court exalted the right as "among the most precious liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights" and implicit in "the very idea of government." The Court had earlier affirmed the right to engage in such activity; it thus deemed it a fundamental liberty, protected against encroachment by federal, state and local governments."

Web Link

Sounds like an accurate use of the term to me. And pretty darn important.

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Posted by Works both ways
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Oct 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Nice post above, but remember it works for both sides of the argument being discussed.

Much of Law is interpretation of the law. Representative Govt. was not intended to allow decisions to be referened in perpituity.

Just remeber everyone. If QQ is voted down, very vauge language (of PP), will be very difficult (both ways) to defend in court. If Oak Grove is referended, it reverts to the already approved 98 units, with NO open space. I can see a scenario where the Lin's take Pleasanton to court and empty the city coffers even more than the wasted lawsuit against Signature et al..... The owners of the land have been dragged through this process for years, spent an enormous amount of money trying to please the great majority of folks and in many ways are no further along by trying to do the right thing.

I personally don't really care whether Oak Grove happens or not, but Matt's practices could end up costing Pleasanton millions in legal fees if we're not careful.

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm

In the referenced article by the two authors it states that "Petitioning the Government" includes "supporting referenda, collecting signatures for ballot initiatives,". Stacey says the first amendment right in the U. S. Constitution of petitioning government "does not extend to the right to make or rescind law through the initiative and referendum process". Both are right.

Since the right to initiative and referendum is found only in certain states, Stacey is accurate with her statement. Otherwise, those non-initiative states would be violating the first amendment. The right to petition government does not convey the right to initiative and referenda.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 14, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Don't like corrupt govt.,

Interesting link and educational.

It seems like you didn't notice that the text you copied states "collecting signatures for a ballot initiative" and not "the initiative process" meaning for example that you can't be sued for collecting signatures for an initiative. That idea is fundamental to the "Anti-SLAPP" laws. It would be disingenuous to try to extend that apply to the initiative process as a whole. If the right to petition is meant to include the initiative process, it would be nice for someone to cite a court case that challenged the legality of the initiative process where the judge ruled in favor of the process and linked it with the right to petition. Notice that we don't have a national referenda and initiative process.

Also, in the spirit of "works both ways", it must also be reasonable to expect that law made through the initiative process is also subject to the right to petition. People affected by such law without having had the opportunity to partake in the drafting of it are completely within their rights to seek redress of their grievances. So I hope Mr. Sullivan will support any property owner's right to sue Pleasanton.

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 14, 2008 at 10:33 pm

So, let's put this right to referenda in perspective and, at the same time, understand how it is not imbedded in the U. S. Constitution.

Suppose the American public were to elect the McCain/Palin ticket three weeks from now. It could happen! Bradley effect, racism, successful character attacking via the media, the ongoing Republican circulating email attacks with target that has turned from Hillary to Obama once he won the nomination, and the "simply he's not one of us" message could put McCain in the White House. Now, suppose he dies in office! Not improbable. Palin is then President!!!!

And you don't have a right to referenda her!!!!! You live with it.

But you can petition government, your Congress. Get it?

(Palin president is like suddenly Brozosky or Hostermann were president. Palin's qual's are about the same. Think about that.)

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Posted by Jolene
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 20, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Getting back on Sullivan; he lost my vote on his Medical Marijuana issue. High Schools are already drug infested. My daughter says you can buy whatever you want. Sullivan would get my vote by convincing the school board to have drug-sniffing dogs wander school campuses and nail the kids for drug peddling. It is bad folks and many of you parents put your heads in the sand--shame on you.