Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - PittsburghLIVE.com Lance: To Dan Onorato. Allegheny County voters twice have rejected a home rule charter amendment that would have allowed sitting County Council members to run for other offices. The idea, a good one, was to prevent the council from becoming a springboard and soapbox for those with higher political ambitions. Yet Mr. Onorato, the chief executive, is proposing a third referendum on the very topic. How many times do the people have to speak?Hear, hear. I've got plenty to say about special elections and those who want to run for office other than the one they are in presently.
Lance: To Mr. Onorato. The aforementioned amendment might not pass legal muster. Why? It places before voters not a single issue but a second issue -- if voters also want quick special elections to fill vacancies to avoid the practice of the council appointing people to fill vacancies. Convoluted, 'Christmas-treed' amendments are a constitutional no-no at the state level; there's no reason to think that same rule is not applicable at the local level.