Monday, February 13, 2006

PetitionGate Story Deepens

I called Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins this morning about the Julian Beard candidate petition story and got something I didn't expect.

There is more to the story than what you got from the Herald Leader on Saturday.

The water company fight from the last several years may raise its ugly head again in a possible lawsuit over Beard's incomplete petition to start his campaign for the Lexington 4th district council seat.

Lexington's requirement of 100 signatures on a ballot petition is unique in Kentucky. Meanwhile, several petition-related issues from the water company fight are pending resolution before the Kentucky Court of Appeals right now. So the need for 100 signatures could go away in the next few months when the court decision on repealed charter provisions comes down. And that would make Beard a legitimate candidate.

Or not.

The fact remains that Lexington's charter requires 100 signatures on petition to file for city office. And the charter specifies that signatures that are found on competing petitions are stricken from both. So current law leaves Mr. Beard without enough signatures to be a candidate.

But that isn't his only problem. If the law is changed and Beard is allowed on the ballot, he still has Mayor Teresa Isaac hanging around his neck. Beard is the Mayor's director of Economic Development.

Asked about the Mayor's divisive style, Beard said he didn't see the problem.

"She (Mayor Isaac) is extremely inclusive," Beard said.

It gets better.

Beard says the Mayor doesn't have a problem with the business community.

"She is exactly the opposite of anti-business," he said.

On the issue of a so-called "Living Wage" that would nearly double the federal minimum wage, Mr. Beard said "it's much more complex" than being for or against the issue. Under further questioning, though, he cleared the air.

"Yes, I'm for a 'Living Wage,'" Beard said.