2017-06-22 / News

Dickinson’s resolution shot down by Dems

He sought town referendum on target shooting prohibition

DICKINSON DICKINSON A resolution pushed forward on target shooting by Republican Councilman Blake Dickinson Monday night died without coming to a vote.

The measure asked for a non-binding referendum on whether the town’s electorate supported the council’s April vote to prohibit recreational shooting.

The four Democratic councilors, however, agreed the poll was an unnecessary step. President Kristine Trocki said a public referendum to change or create an ordinance is mandatory if 10 percent of the registered voters sign a petition. Having a referendum that is essentially an opinion poll like Dickinson’s request, she said, is not proper procedure.

“I certainly hope that people will pay respect to the process outlined in the town charter,” she said. “Until that time, I don’t think this needs to be rehashed. You need to do it through the proper channels.”

“This proposal seems like a halfway house to me,” Councilman Gene Mihaly added. “I would simply urge (Dickinson) to organize a petition for a referendum.”

Dickinson’s request was for a referendum “at the earlier possible time” to ask residents one question: “Do you support the action of the town council of the town of Jamestown to prohibit the discharge of weapons for recreational target shooting?”

His goal was to get the question on the Aug. 22 special election ballot for the District 13 Senate seat, but the deadline already had passed.

“I get the political aspect of this,” Councilwoman Mary Meagher said. “I get that you’re trying to do that dramatically.”

Although Meagher said she understood the strategy behind the resolution, she thought this was a bad way to bring the controversy back to light.

“You’re essentially asking for a political poll,” she said. “That’s a waste of time, energy and resources.”

Council Vice President Mike White, the other councilor to vote against prohibition during the 3-2 vote in April, agreed with his party mates.

“Even if the vote was against the ban, it’s non-binding and we’d just go through the process anyway,” he said.

In related news, Robb Roach, one of the leading opponents against the target shooting ban, submitted a letter to the councilors about procedural issues during the April hearing. Because the ordinance was amended during the meeting, Roach contends, it wasn’t properly advertised in the newspaper. The advertised ordinance differed from the adopted ordinance, he said, so the law should be invalidated.

Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero did not immediately return a phone call for comment on Roach’s claim.

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