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LAS VEGAS-Thwarted by a District Court judge on Friday, backers of two would-be ballot measures aimed at dismantling the City of Las Vegas’ redevelopment machine field a notice of appeal Thursday with the Nevada Supreme Court. The state’s high court was expected to take up the issue quickly given week’s deadline to begin printing and then mailing ballots for the June 2 municipal election, which currently does not include any citywide issues.

The referendum in question would repeal the Las Vegas redevelopment plan, the city’s strategy for revitalizing its core and redeveloping brown fields. The initiative in question would require voter approval before any payments over $2 million were made under both existing and future lease-purchase agreements—the city’s preferred financing method–and would give voters instead of council members authority over creating or changing the city’s redevelopment plan.

Culinary Workers Union Local 226, one of the main proponents, believes that citizens should be able to vote on large development deals like the one with Forest City Development designed to result in, among other things, a new $266-million city hall building and a new $1.2-billion casino in Union Park, its showcase railyard redevelopment. City leaders argue that repealing the redevelopment plan would remove the revenue stream backing $80 million in bonds and tax incentives, which could lead to litigation by Forest City and others, and a black mark on the city’s ability to borrow money.

District Court Judge David Barker decided against putting the initiative and the referendum because he believes they violate state laws governing such measures. The initiative deals with two separate issues and by law can only address one issue, he wrote. The referendum violates state law by not informing citizens that an affirmative vote could impair the city’s outstanding securities in addition to repealing the redevelopment plan. Proponents’ legal counsel has argued that legal challenges should be brought post-election, not pre-election.

Now the issue will be taken up by the Nevada Supreme Court….again. Proponents initially petitioned the state’s highest court after being denied by the Las Vegas City Council despite gathering the necessary signatures. In early April the Nevada Supreme Court rejected the petition , saying emergency petitions may only be utilized when there is “no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy at law,” and that such remedies are available at the district court level to address such matters.

In addition to the new City Hall and the new casino, the deal with Forest City is designed to result in $1 billion of redevelopment on four blocks south of the proposed new City Hall site. As well, the relocation of City Hall would open up for redevelopment the current City Hall site, which sits adjacent to the Downtown’s popular Fremont Street Experience.

“When I was talking to the city attorney’s office, they said if we lost this, an appeal would be futile. So I assume the corollary is correct,” he reportedly said at a recent news conference. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s done.”

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