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Sec. 3. Referendum.
Any ordinance, other than such as may be required to be passed at a particular time or for the purpose of complying with a charter or general law, and excepting such ordinances or measures for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, shall be subject to a referendum as herein provided. Provided further that the petition for such referendum be filed within thirty days from the final passage of such ordinance, and the same shall not be effective during said period during which the same is subject to referendum.
The council may, of its own motion, submit any ordinance or question of policy to a referendum.
A referendum petition asking that a particular ordinance named therein be submitted to a vote of the electorate, in order to be valid, must meet the following requirements:
(a) A notice of intention to circulate a referendum petition must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city once prior to the affixing of any signature to any petition and shall be substantially in the following form:
Notice of Intent to Circulate Referendum Petition
Notice is hereby given of the intention of the persons whose names appear hereon to circulate a referendum petition within the city of Palo Alto for the purpose of ________. A statement of the reasons of the proposed action as contemplated in said petition is as follows:
(b) The notice of intention shall be filed with the clerk prior to the affixing of any signature to any petition.
(c) Immediately after the publication and filing of the notice of intention to circulate the referendum petition may be circulated and filed. The petition shall bear a copy of the notice of intention to circulate. Signatures shall be secured and the petition filed within thirty days of the date of the adoption or passage of the ordinance filed with the clerk. If such petition is not filed within the time required by this section, the same shall be void for all purposes.
The signatures to the petition need not all be appended to one paper, but said petition may be presented in sections. Each section shall contain the number and title of the ordinance proposed to be referended and a statement that the purpose of the petition is to referend such ordinance. The number of signatures to each section shall be at the pleasure of the person soliciting signatures to the same. Any qualified voter of the municipality shall be competent to solicit said signatures. Each signer of said petition shall at the time of signing the petition include his printed name and place of residence, giving street and number, and if no street or number exists, then a designation of his place of residence which will enable the location to be readily ascertained and the name of the city. A place of at least one-inch wide shall be left blank after each name for the use of the clerk in verifying the petition.
Each section shall have attached thereto the affidavit of the person soliciting signatures to the same stating:
(1) The name and address of the circulator and a statement that he or she is a registered voter of Palo Alto.
(2) That all the signatures affixed to the section were made in his or her presence.
(3) That to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.
(4) The dates between which all signatures were obtained.
(5) The signature of the circulator. No other affidavit thereto shall be required.
Unless and until it be proven otherwise by official investigation, it shall be presumed that the petition presented contains the signatures of the requisite number of qualified voters.
Within fifteen business days from the date of filing such petition, the clerk shall examine and ascertain from the records of registration whether or not said petition is signed by the requisite number of electors entitled to vote, and if necessary the council shall allow the clerk extra help for that purpose, and the clerk shall attach to said petition his certificate showing the result of said examination. If the clerk's certification shows that the petition is insufficient by reason of the failure to obtain sufficient valid signatures thereon, a supplemental petition, in form a duplicate of the original petition, bearing new additional signatures may be filed within ten days of the mailing of the certificate of insufficiency to the proponents of the referendum. Supplemental petitions shall be processed by the clerk in the same manner as set forth herein with respect to original petitions. If the petition is signed by qualified and registered electors equal in number to six percentum of the number of registered voters at the last general municipal election and the petition shall be found to be sufficient, the clerk shall submit the same to the council without delay and it shall be the duty of the council to reconsider such ordinance. If the council fails to entirely repeal such ordinance, it shall be the duty of the council to submit the question of the approval or rejection of such ordinance to the electors at the next general municipal election or a special election that shall be held not less than eighty-eight days from the date of the clerk's certificate of sufficiency and, until such election is held and the ordinance approved by the electors, such ordinance shall be suspended and inoperative.
The ballots used when voting upon such ordinance shall contain the words "For the Ordinance" and "Against the Ordinance" (stating the nature of the proposed ordinance). If a majority of the qualified electors voting on said proposed ordinance shall vote in favor thereof, such ordinance shall become a valid and binding ordinance on the city.
If the ordinance voted upon is approved, it shall have the same force and effect of any other ordinance adopted by council and may be amended at any time as though no election were held. If the ordinance voted upon is disapproved, the council may not adopt a substantially similar ordinance for a period of at least one year from the date of election.
(Amended by Stats. 1972, Ch. 71, 7-7-72 and by Stats. 1982, Ch. 30, 12-10-82)