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California: Monterey activists circulated petitions in English, not Spanish

The Monterey County Herald reports: Slow-growth advocates on Thursday trumpeted the first victory in their effort to head off enactment of the Monterey County general plan update.

In 10 days, the backers of a referendum challenging the county's new general plan have gathered more than 9,000 signatures, enough to qualify under election law. They said they plan to gather at least 15,000 signatures before submitting them to the county elections department Feb. 1. ...

Despite a lawsuit by Latino voting rights advocates challenging the circulation of earlier English-only petitions, the latest petition was not translated into Spanish. Fitz said he is convinced the latest petition is on solid legal ground, citing a recent court decision that he said protected privately circulated petitions from a translation requirement.

He added that petitioners were prepared to assemble a Spanish-language petition, but county officials said they couldn't translate the hulking general plan update documents into Spanish until the end of March. Mitchell added that some of the signature gatherers are Spanish speakers and were able to explain the issue to non-English speakers. -- Monterey County Herald | 01/19/2007 | Petition drive going strong

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