“We the People”…Not in Owasso
Post date: Jan 19, 2009 3:09:08 AM
by J.B. Alexander
Owasso Taxpayer Alliance
Friday, January 16, 2009
OWASSO, Oklahoma – Following a long struggle our forefathers authored the greatest document man has every put together and on July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the newly formed US Congress. Several years later, in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was adopted. These documents were created so that men were truly free, no man was above the law and that government held limited powers. However it appears that our city leadership may not be aware of some of the provisions in these documents and might need a refresher course in Constitutional Government.
At the November 4, 2008 Owasso City Council meeting two councilors were absent leaving a legal quorum of three councilors present to conduct official business. At this meeting councilors voted 2-1 to accept the consent agenda. Part of the consent agenda included several “ordinances”. One of the ordinances was for the annexation of property on East 96th Street North.
At the November 18, 2008 council meeting a plat for this same property on East 96th Street North was presented for acceptance. I questioned the council on how they can approve a plat on a piece of property that was not legally annexed into the city and I referenced Section 2-13 of the Owasso City Charter. Section 2-13 states:
Section 2-13 Ordinances: Passage, When in Effect.
Every proposed ordinance shall be read, and a vote of a majority of all the councilmen shall be required for its passage. The vote on final passage of every ordinance shall be by yeas and nays, and shall be entered in the journal. The mayor shall have no power of veto. Within ten days after its passage, every ordinance shall be published in full or by number, title, and brief gist in a newspaper of general circulation within the city. Every ordinance except an emergency ordinance, so published, shall become effective thirty days after its final passage unless it specifies a later time; provided that a franchise for a public utility shall not go into effect until the ordinance granting it has been published in full in a newspaper of general circulation within the city and has been approved at an election by a vote of a majority of the qualified electors voting on the question.
My position for challenging the passage of these “consent agenda ordinances” is that the ordinances are NOT read, and in the case of the November 4, 2008 vote, the ordinances were passed by a 2-1 vote. A majority of “all the councilmen” would require at least three (3) votes for passage.
In December 2008 I received a copy of a memo supplied to Mr. Rodney Ray, Owasso City Manger from Owasso City Attorney Ms. Julie Lombardi stating her opinion of Section 2-13. In Ms. Lombardi’s official opinion:
“…the ultimate interpretation of the provisions within the city’s charter and/or code of ordinances is conferred solely upon the City Council unless and until litigation results and a court assumes sole jurisdiction over the matter”.
The current city leadership’s position is that they can interpret the city charter and the code of ordinances however they like. What rights do “We the People” of Owasso have if any seated council can interpret the city charter however they like.
What if the U.S. Government came out with an “official opinion” that the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution was left solely up to the currently seated congress? Can you image what shape our nation would be in if the majority of congress was controlled by either the Democrats or Republicans and THEY could interpret the U.S. Constitution however they saw fit?
The city charter is a document – like the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions – that was established by “We the People”. Our city government derives its power from the consent of the people of Owasso. The people of Owasso have the constitutional right to demand that their government represent the will of the people or we have the right to replace that government.
Our city has been bending the rules and regulations for far too long. And now their official position is they can tell us how they are going to interpret the very document that guarantees our rights as Owasso citizens and defines the limits of the city government. The very document that “We the People” in Owasso should be able to rely upon to keep our government in check – and protect us from an out of control government – has been highjacked!
Our city council needs to step forward and correct this misguided opinion. I call upon the city council to pass an ordinance that states the City Charter shall be interpreted literally unless a court determines otherwise. This would guarantee that the rights established by “We, the People of the City of Owasso” would be protected from further abuse.
The protection of our freedom and liberty is not a spectator sport. You must become involved. Please contact your city councilors and voice your concerns over this “highjacking” of our city charter.
A copy of the Owasso City Charter can be viewed at http://www.owassotaxpayer.com/owasso-city-charter
A copy of Ms. Lombardi’s memo’s concerning this issue can be viewed at http://www.owassotaxpayer.com/file-cabinet