Patriots: Enough signatures to force election

A spokesperson for the High Plains Patriots said Saturday they had verified enough petition signatures to force a special election on the city’s affordable housing plan.

Kim Runyan, president of the citizens group, said 496 signatures from registered Clovis voters had been verified, with a few more hours left to go Saturday night.

That’s 40 more than the number of signatures required by the city charter to force any passed ordinance to a special election ballot within 30 days of its passage.

The required 456 signatures represents 20 percent of the 2010 municipal election turnout. Runyan said she expects there will be about 100 more verified signatures than the required total.

Monday is the deadline — the first business day following the 30th day since the Clovis City Commission passed the affordable housing plan on a 6-1 vote.

Randy Crowder, who was the lone dissenting vote, cited troubles with taxpayer dollars going to private industries that would build affordable housing.

The plan is an amendment to the state’s anti-donation clause, which otherwise says a city cannot, “directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation.” Cities, including Clovis, have created a similar amendment for economic development ventures.

Runyan said about 900 to 1,000 signatures have been provided, but many could not be verified because signatures aren’t valid if the address doesn’t match voter registration records.