Measure on police duty kept off ballot
Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 13, 2007 12:00 AM

Latino activists celebrated victory Friday after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a proposition aimed at requiring Phoenix police officers to act as immigration agents fell short of signatures.

As a result, that proposition will not be going to the voters. At least not now.

Randy Pullen, the man driving the proposition, pledged to start the process again to get the measure on the ballot in the fall.

He gathered enough signatures to get this measure on the ballot only after using a Phoenix City Charter provision that allows 10 extra days for proponents of an initiative to collect additional signatures if their petitions come up short the first time.

Pullen's second batch of signatures was tossed out because the court upheld a Maricopa County Superior Court ruling that rendered that charter provision invalid because it conflicts with state law.

State law allows only one shot at collecting petition signatures for an initiative.

An initiative is an effort by residents to create a law.

"The decision just proves that Randy Pullen didn't have the support from the residents of Phoenix that he thought he did," said Lydia Guzman, chairwoman of the Coalition for Latino Political Action and a member of Somos America.

"The support just isn't there for an initiative that would take police officers away from their regular duties and turn them into immigration agents," she added.

Pullen said the court rulings don't prove that at all.

"I followed the city's election laws and I didn't think I had to worry about it," he said. "We knew we had a lot of signatures and just said, 'Let's turn these in and see how many of these are valid and see how many more we need to get.' That was the logic."

City Attorney Gary Verburg said that city officials would note the decision in the charter and "put the public on notice that they can't rely on that provision . . . for any future initiatives."

Phoenix voters approved the extra 10-day provision in 1971.

The Arizona Supreme Court made a similar ruling in 1986 when it ruled invalid part of the Phoenix charter that allowed proponents of a referendum the same 10 extra days to gather support if they didn't initially meet the minimum signature requirements.

A referendum is an effort by residents to repeal a City Council decision.

"You win some, you lose some," Pullen said. "It wasn't something we did wrong. It's the fact that the city's elections laws were invalid."

He said the court decision also raises questions about all other city elections laws that conflict with Arizona's election laws. ... n0113.html