In response to a request by Morning Call reporter Jenna Portnoy, County Exec John Stoffa asked Archives to look for background information concerning Northampton County's Home Rule Charter. They found about five boxes from 1975, and Stoffa made them available to all media outlets. This annoyed the hell out of Jenna Portnoy, who wanted one of those exclusives, but nobody really wanted to go through all that dusty old information. I spent about an hour looking at everything, and saw nothing that explains the intent of this single sentence.
"The power of initiative and referendum shall not extend to the budget or capital program, to the appropriation of money, to the levy of taxes, or to the salaries of elected officials, officers, or employees of the County."
That single sentence is why the County maintains there can be no initiative relating to Gracedale's sale.
Bill Hansell was a paid consultant who provided information to the real authors. At no time did he or anyone, for that matter, discuss the meaning of that sentence, probably because it's pretty clear.
But in 2011, thirty-six years after his consulting gig is over, Hansell claims the County is not "not playing by the rules." Really? Then what the hell does that sentence mean, Bill?
According to The Morning Call account, the real author is the National Civic League.
Guess what? That group does explain that the reason for this restriction on the power of initiative is to prevent the vox populi from interfering "with responsible officials striving to achieve a properly balanced long-range fiscal program."
Kinda' like what is happening here.