City Hall critic and anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce, who has placed several initiatives on a ballot, including the voter-approved question that eliminated the Stormwater Enterprise, will start collecting signatures this weekend for an initiative in April.
In his latest endeavor, Bruce wants voters to expand the powers of the mayor, including the ability to lower taxes and fees, hire and fire department heads and veto ordinances.
The mayor would also replace several positions, including the city manager and the chief financial officer, as well as the entire Public Communications Office, which Bruce contends would save taxpayers more than $2 million a year in salaries and benefits.
(To read Bruce's proposal, visit the City Desk blog by clicking here.)
Bruce said Wednesday he requested the forms to start circulating petitions this weekend.
Bruce said he needs to submit about 12,500 valid voter signatures in 90 days to get the initiative on the April ballot. But he wants to collect double to avoid any problems.
“I need volunteers,” he said. “Anybody that trusts my judgment or believes that we have to reform City Hall.”
Bruce’s proposal comes as another group, Citizens for Accountable Leadership, campaigns in support of an initiative on the November ballot that would also give the mayor new powers under a strong-mayor form of government.
Bruce said that proposal was a good idea on principle but that his is better.
He also questioned the motives of the group, which is being funded primarily by developers Chris and David Jenkins, who have loaned the campaign $86,000 since June.
“They’re in the right direction, but frankly, there are a lot of people that are skeptical,” he said.
Rachel Beck, a spokeswoman for Citizens for Accountable Leadership, said the group received “generous support” from the Jenkins but that it has broad-based support.
“We received 40,000 signatures on our ballot petition, and we have more than 120 community leaders from across the political spectrum who are publicly endorsing the issue,” she said in an e-mail. “I’d say that’s broad and diverse support.”
If voters approve what is being called Initiative 300 this November, and if voters approve Bruce’s initiative if he gets it on the April ballot, Bruce contends that his proposal “would prevail in the event of any conflict in the language.”
(Do you plan to vote for or against Initiative 300 this November? Vote in poll.)