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Cape Girardeau City Council shoots down November deer election

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

If the urban deer hunting proposal makes its way to a municipal ballot anytime soon, it won't be the Cape Girardeau City Council that puts it there.

But the leader of the group that has criticized it as unsafe and unkind to animals says they still fully intend to do so.

The council voted 4-1 on Monday night -- with two members absent -- to reject an emergency ordinance that would have asked voters whether to repeal the newly adopted program on the Nov. 6 ballot. Those who voted against the bill cited "legal uncertainties" created by the possibility of having the issue scheduled to be before voters in two separate elections.

Keep Cape Safe has been working since the council passed the ordinance July 16 to gather the 2,446 signatures needed in a petition that, if successful, would prompt the city's first-ever referendum to overturn a law. Group organizers said last week they have collected more than 1,500 and hope to obtain the rest from today's primary election voters.

Mayor Harry Rediger and council members Mark Lanzotti, Loretta Schneider and Kathy Swan voted against the measure. Only John Voss, the program's top council supporter, voted for the November election. An emergency ordinance was drafted because the council would have had to work quickly to make the November ballot.

Emergency ordinance rules allow a bill to be passed in one meeting without the 10-day waiting period typical for routine bills. But, with Meg Davis Proffer and Trent Summers not in attendance, all five there Monday would have needed to vote yes.

Rediger reminded those in attendance that Keep Cape Safe rejected Voss' offer last week to do what the council was considering. Voss attended a Keep Cape Safe meeting with an offer to try to convince the council to schedule a November election. He just asked that, if he was successful, the group would either not submit their petition or withdraw it if they had already done so. Citing the fact that the council could change its mind at any time, Stigers declined the offer the next morning.

"It was a valid effort and a good offer from John Voss," Rediger said. " ... But they said no. So I think the best method now to take into the future is to let them do the referendum."

At issue Monday were "legal uncertainties" that were vaguely talked about by the council members who voted against the measure. During a closed-session meeting before the vote, the council discussed the matter with city attorney Eric Cunningham. After the meeting, Cunningham declined to discuss what those legal questions were.

"To the extent that something is privileged, there were questions about how the process would work out," Cunningham said. "But I can't say what all was discussed."

Before the vote, Voss explained his rationale for asking for a November election to repeal a bill that he proposed. He acknowledged that Keep Cape Safe was "probably" going to put the question to voters. But he would prefer a November presidential election because presidential elections draw more voters than single-issue ballot questions. The group, constrained by charter-mandated waiting periods, seems unlikely to get the issue before voters before April.

Voss believes that as many residents should weigh in on the program as possible to more broadly represent the will of the people, he said. With its emergency ordinance rules, the council could meet the Aug. 28 deadline to file an election notice with the county clerk. Keep Cape Safe has myriad time requirements that make it impossible to get on the November ballot.

Voss also said that putting the issue on the existing November ballot would save taxpayers the responsibility of footing the $10,000 or so bill of a special election.

While Stigers, who organizes Keep Cape Safe's parent organization Cape Friends of Wildlife, has suggested that Voss is trying to save face by putting the issue on the ballot before them, Voss adamantly denied that in a Monday afternoon interview with the Southeast Missourian.

"I only want it on the ballot to make this issue go away as quickly as possible," Voss said.

Voss also disagrees with Stigers' assertion that Voss is acting out of a dawning realization that more people believe the program that is slated to begin Sept. 15 is wildly unpopular with city residents. Voss suggested that Stigers' group has intimidated a "silent majority" into remaining quiet. The group's members have suggested that council members had sold yes votes for money, and Voss recalls one "thinly veiled threat," where an opponent said: "If I get hurt by an arrow, you better hope it kills me." The group has also been antagonistic at times. So he understands, he said, why supporters are lying low.

"If I wasn't on the council, I would be quiet," Voss said. "But I am, so I feel obligated to speak up."

After the vote, Stigers said it was "preposterous" that his group has intimidated supporters from coming forward. His group isn't made up of public speakers, but they are passionate about their cause.

As for the vote, Stigers said the council appeared to have done what it legally had to.

"It doesn't matter to us," Stigers said. "We'd love to have the council repeal the ordinance themselves. Other than that, our referendum is the clearest way to put this issue behind us."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

401 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO


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For months, citizens asked to have this put before the voters, but 4 council members rejected that approach and voted to adopt the ordinance. Then -- even before their next meeting -- Councilman Voss submitted an emergency ordinance to get it on the ballot, saying part of the reason is to save $10,000. Well, when the referendum is certified, the council could vote to rescind the ordinance and there would be NO ballot -- NO expense. But if that doesn't happen, the City Charter allows "For the sake of economy, the provision for a special election can be deferred by a request from the majority of the petitioners' committee with the concurrence of the council." The two groups would have an opportunity to work this out without any more expense than there would be by adding it to the November ballot.

-- Posted by Schweitzer on Mon, Aug 6, 2012, at 11:02 PM

I'll tell you what is cruel to animals . . . I saw just the other day, laying on the side of the road on North Sprigg & Lexington, a doe lying there slowly dying a painful death in the extreme heat because it had been hit by a car. Not the driver's fault. Even when you're watching, deer can pop out of no where and run into the path of a vehicle. At least a skilled hunter would kill and remove the body. Not leave the deer lying in sheer agony to suffer!!!

-- Posted by Kadybug on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 7:55 AM

I agree kadybug

-- Posted by SterlingCooper on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 8:06 AM

what they need to do is understand its the 21st century and that cape is a city not a urban wilderness. having roaming deer is a problem and creates fear of having a bad accident late at night. they need to have people come in and shooot the **** animals...

-- Posted by dirtyd2333 on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 8:17 AM

I attended a few of the City Council meetings where opponents to the urban deer hunting ordinance spoke to the Mayor and the City Council. I did not hear any of the threats and/or accusations that Mr. Voss apparently heard. Just the opposite, in fact. In light of how strongly the opponents felt about the issue, I thought they remained courteous and polite.

-- Posted by dmt49 on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 8:25 AM

We will have the Names to Petition and we will have a special election. This is About Safety having a Safe Community Keep Cape Safe

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 8:33 AM

Get the NRA loving people get after the deer. They all can work off their pent up want to shoot.

-- Posted by Thinking for myself on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 9:11 AM

To Piephod - I don't know what you were watching, but I was watching on TV, and this is the rudest group of people I have ever seen. Go back and read the transcripts from the council meetings July 16 and July 30 (think those are the correct dates). Each one tried to be nastier than the prior one speaking.

-- Posted by Sunday on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 9:39 AM

I used to watch the council meetings when they were on channel 5 (cable). What cable channel are they on now?

-- Posted by howdydoody on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 9:55 AM

To howdydoody - channel 993. This is Charter's fault. We can only get it on one of our tvs which is a new one. I think Charter should be required to run the public service channels on channels everyone can get.

-- Posted by Sunday on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 10:24 AM

Piephod - not sure what meetings you could be speaking of if you weren't aware of what took place...not saying this because I am for urban hunting because those people are certainly entitled to their opinion, but they were so obnoxious I think they should have been asked to leave.

-- Posted by Agnes on Tue, Aug 7, 2012, at 12:35 PM


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Cape Girardeau City Council action taken
Public hearing

* Held a public hearing regarding the proposed property tax rates for fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

Consent agenda

* Approved the July 16 city council regular and closed session meeting minutes.

* Approved an ordinance annexing unincorporated land into the city limits of Cape Girardeau upon the request of various property owners. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance extending the boundaries of Ward 4 to include properties newly annexed into the city limits of Cape Girardeau. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance updating and readopting Sections 2-76 to 2-83 of the city code relating to conflicts of interest. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance establishing utility rates for Cape Girardeau by amending Chapter 29 of the city code relating to water and sewers. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a quitclaim deed to Carlos and Emmagene Ratliff for property along Perryville Road. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance accepting a revised permanent utility easement executed by Vernon E. Rhodes Family Partners LP and Rhodes Development Company LLC in Kingsway Subdivision in Cape Girardeau. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance accepting a permanent utility easement executed by First Presbyterian Church of Cape Girardeau at 232 Broadway. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance appropriating monies for operating expenditures from the Convention and Tourism fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, in Cape Girardeau. Second and third readings.

* Approved an ordinance approving the record plat of Centurion Subdivision in Cape Girardeau. Second and third readings.

* Approved a resolution authorizing application to the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 2012 and authorizing the city manager to execute all necessary grant program documents. Reading and passage.

Items removed from the consent agenda

* Approved an ordinance amending Chapter 30 of the code of ordinances of Cape Girardeau by zoning various properties in the city and county of Cape Girardeau as RE, rural state residential district; and R-1, single-family suburban residential district, respectively. Second and third readings.

New ordinances

* Approved an ordinance accepting fee simple interest permanent sanitary sewer easements and temporary construction easements from various property owners for the wastewater treatment plant project. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance accepting a permanent stormwater easement executed by Nip Kelley Equipment Co. Inc. for property along South Sprigg Street. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance accepting a permanent stormwater easement executed by Nip Kelley Equipment Co. Inc. for property along South Sprigg Street. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance providing for the levying of the annual city revenue tax; public health tax; special business district No. 2 tax; for the fiscal year ending June, 30, 2013. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule T of Section 26-260 of the city code, by establishing handicapped parking along a portion of Park Avenue. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule P of Section 26-248 of the city code, by establishing limited parking along a portion of Park Avenue. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule F of Section 26-247 of the city code by repealing no parking anytime along a portion of Broadway. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule G of Section 26-249 of the city code by amending two-hour parking along a portion of Broadway. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule H of Section 26-126 of the city code by repealing electric traffic control signals at the intersection of Broadway and Fountain Street. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule N of Section 26-257 of the city code by repealing one-hour parking along a portion of Broadway. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule P and Schedule R of Section 26-248 of the city code by repealing limited parking along a portion of Broadway. First reading.

* Approved an ordinance amending Schedule T of Section 26-260 of the city code by amending handicapped parking along a portion of Broadway. First reading.

* Rejected an ordinance calling a special election in the city of Cape Girardeau on the question of whether to repeal ordinance no. 4340, which established a system of urban deer hunting in the city limits; designating the time of holding the election; authorizing and directing the city clerk to give notice of the election. First, second and third readings.

Map of pertinent addresses