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19800514SCMeeting1 1 39 Tybee Island, Georgia May 14, 1980 The Tybee Island City Council met in special session at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 1980 at Tybee Island City Hall for the purpose of hearing a petition by Christopher P. Solomon, Mayoral candidate, contesting the results of the Municipal Election of Monday, May 5, 1980. A copy of this petition, and of the notice setting the date for hearing, accompanies these minutes and becomes a part thereof. Mayor M. J. Counihan presided and the following mem- bers of the City Council were present: William C. Fleetwood, John Owen, Edward Jung, Jerome Bettencourt and Nick C. Alexander. Mrs. Karen Losey was not in attendance. City Attorney W. Lance Smith, III was present and was assisted by attorney John Hendrix. In addition, Judge Robert Cook, Elections Superintendent, all poll workers, and the Board of Registrars were present. Mayor Counihan opened the meeting and invited the petitioner to speak. City Attorney Lance Smith requested that the petitioner first name those people that he intended to call to witness. Mr. Solomon named the following: Virginia Brown, President of the Savannah League of Women Voters, Judge Cook, the poll workers, the Board of Registrars, Police Chief John Price, Lieutenant McCutcher, the City Clerk, Ms. Rimedio and Mrs. Daley of the City Hall staff, and General William H. Kelly. After some discussion all of the above, with the exception of the City Clerk, were sequestered in the offices so that each could be called as needed and would not be influenced by 1 1 1 40 previous testimony. Prior to leaving the meeting area, the entire group of possible witnesses were sworn in, so that all resulting testimony was given under oath. The petitioner was invited to begin and called first Ms. Angela Rimedio, of whom he asked one question: How many people registered to vote in the election? Ms. Rimedio answered that since the books opened after the last election approximately 200 to 300 people had probably registered. Mr. Solomon then asked the question of the City Clerk who answered that personally she had registered only two or three people, as she only performed this function when the office is short - staffed. Mr. Solomon then called Mrs. Rose E. Daley and asked how many people she had registered prior to the election. Mrs. Daley replied that she did not know. Mr. Solomon then asked if the number would be more than ten and Mrs. Daley answered yes. He asked if the number would be more than fifty, and Mrs. Daley replied that she didn't know, as she did not count the cards. Mr. Solomon then stated that he had signed statements from two people (Isaiah Williams and Donna Retzovitch) who had registered to vote and whose names did not appear on the list. The City Attorney objected to these written statements being entered as evidence unless the parties named appeared before the Council because he could not cross examine unless they appeared personally. Mr. Solomon then stated that, in his opinion, the registration list contains many illegally registered voters because the City Charter makes no provision for deputy registrars. Mrs. Virginia Brown, President of the Savannah League of Women Voters, then appeared, called by Mr. Solomon. Mrs. Brown 1 1 41 read a statement concerning the observations made by representatives of her organization on the day of the election. A copy of this state- ment is attached to, and becomes a part of, these minutes. The City Attorney then cross - examined the witness and challenged her claim to bipartisan objectivity. Mr. Solomon then asked that Judge Cook and the regis- trars be called. Mr. James Fabrikant, Sr., Mrs. Louise Shaw, and Mrs. Catherine Anderson accompanied Judge Cook. Mr. Solomon first asked Judge Cook specifically about the following voters: Mrs. Marion Dean, Gertrude Gavin, and Eugene Foley. The question of the legality of the votes of the latter two were answered by Judge Cook by referring to his records of the election. He showed that these both involved simple clerical errors, one a probable spelling error and the other a mistake in the copying of the name by the poll worker. He stated that both were honest clerical errors and that neither person voted illegally. Mrs. Marion Dean's name was referred to the Chief Registrar, Mr. James Fabrikant, Sr., who explained that Mrs. Dean completed her registration card prior to the closing of the list, but that she was added to the list after April 7th because she had been out of town on a visit and the registrars wished to contact her personally before allowing her name to be added to the list. He further stated that the Georgia Code allows the registrars to add names even on the date of the election, if the voter can prove to the registrars' satisfaction that they are legally qualified to vote and their name had been omitted through some human error. He further stated that the registrars, after a complete investigation, believe Mrs. Dean to be qualified as a resident, and therefore her name was added to the registration list. 1 42 While Mr. Fabrikant was present the City Attorney asked him to explain what he knew of the two persons (Isaiah Williams and Donna Retzovitch) who claimed they had registered but were not on the list. Mr. Fabrikant stated that the registrars have searched their records and their files and are able to find no record of such persons ever having registered. When asked about General Kelly's statement that two of his daughters also registered and their names do not appear on the list, Mr. Fabrikant explained that the two girls did try to register on an election day and were told that the law did not allow this, and were asked to return another time. He stated that if the girls had registered at the time General Kelly believes they did, their names should have appeared on the list two years ago, but are not on the 1978 list either. He further stated that he called the county registrars office and asked them to check their records - one of the girls did vote at Tybee Island City Hall in another election, and her name does appear on the County registration list. He is of the opinion that the girls, having registered at the county, believed themselves to be on the municipal list. The City Attorney then asked Judge Cook, Elections Superintendent,if he had been told, on the day of the election, that the League of Women Voters were present as poll watchers for Chris Solomon. Judge Cook answered that such a statement was made, not by Ms. Brown, but by her companion, Ms. Jill Thornton. Mr. Smith then asked if Ms. Thornton was available to testify, and was told that she was not present. Chris Solomon then called General William H. Kelly who testified that he attempted to get absentee ballots for two of 1 1 1 43 his daughters on the Thursday prior to the election and that he had been informed by the City Clerk that the girls' names did not appear on the voters list. He continued to state that both girls had register- ed and that it is his belief that their registration cards had been lost or misplaced by the deputy registrars. He further stated that he does not feel he is legally qualified to vote because he does not be- lieve that deputy registrars are legal according to the city charter. Lance Smith stated that the city charter has incorporated the Georgia Election Code, and that Code includes provision for deputy registrars; therefore deputy registrars, having been sworn in for this purpose, and also being sworn as Notary Publics, are qualified to perform the clerical act of receiving an application for registration. He further stated that each card is then reviewed by the Board of Registrars and is approved or disapproved by their signatures only. No further witnesses were called by the petitioner; City Attorney Smith called Chief John J. Price. He asked the Chief if he had been present at the polls on election day. Chief Price answered that he, and Lieutenant McCutchen were present at the request of the Superintendent of Elections, Judge Robert Cook. He stated that their purpose was to be available if needed and that neither he nor the Lieutenant made any attempt to interfere with the rights of any voter. He stated that they stood in the hall, or out in front of the building, and that he, personally,spent some time in the clerk's office where he received and made necessary telephone calls during the day. Councilman Fleetwood then stated that, in his opinion, no evidence had been forthcoming which could affect or cast in doubt the outcome of the election, and he therefore moved that the petition be denied. Councilman Owen seconded. During discussion, Councilman 1 1 1 44 Bettencourt stated that he is personally certain that the Mayor re- ceived the majority of the votes in a fair and legal election. There being no further discussion, the motion to deny was unanimously carried. Mayor Counihan then called a thirty minute recess, and announced that at the end of the recess Council would reconvene for the regular business meeting. At 3:30 p.m., following the thirty- minute recess, the Tybee Island City Council re- convened for its regular business session. Mayor Counihan began the meeting by asking if there were persons in the audience who wished to speak to the Council. Mr. Sam Porter and Mr. John Bragg asked to speak concerning a request for a business li- cense to operate a skate rental business. Mr. Porter stated that, if a license was allowed, his firm promises to support all civic groups, church groups, youth groups, and clubs such as the Optimists Club by loaning skates free for their activities. Other special groups will be offered special group rates for skate rental. He stated that his firm is very willing to restrict skaters to certain areas of the island and to have cards printed giving directions as to where skating will be allowed. He further stated that this business is operating in the City of Savannah without safety problems. He stated that he and Mr. Bragg are considering rental of a building on First Street, if the license is granted. He believes that skate rentals are similar to bicycle rentals and would operate under the same principles without the city being liable for accidents. This question was asked of the City Attorney who agreed that rentals of skates would be covered by the same ordinances as bicycle rentals. He believes that any res- trictions imposed by Council could be incorporated into the license, and that the hours in which rentals could be made could also be specified. 1 1 1 45 Jack Owen remarked that the sidewalks, if used by skaters, might not be safe for the elderly. Mr. Porter replied that skaters are bound by pedestrian laws, and that the cards issued to each renter would include such warnings as the Council feels are necessary to ensure the safety of all. Councilman Fleetwood, Finance Chairman, with the con- currence of Council, stated that the license will be granted. Mr. Porter was instructed to provide samples of the printed rules and warnings that he plans to issue to renters, and that also some res- trictions as to hours of operation and areas for skating will be in- corporated into the license. Minutes of the meeting of April 9, 1980 were approved as written. Bills of the various departments were approved for payment as follows: Fire Department - $798.24, General Government - $3,969.66, Water Department - $2,112.53, Sewer Department - $5,376.34, Parking Meter Department - $93.52, Police Department - $4,991.75, Ceramics Department - $180.25, Recreation (various) - $566.07, Sanitation Department - $2,354.44, Public Works - $5,819.57, Other Expenses - $4,390.69, and Capital Outlay - $4,041.80. Mayor Counihan then asked the Clerk to make a report on the progress of extending the North Beach Parking Lot. The Clerk reported that an application for a permit had been made and that a hearing before the Coastal Committee was held in Brunswick on May 13th. No decision was made at that time and the committee will make an on- site inspection on May 23rd, after which the Coastal Committee will meet at the Tybee Island City Hall to decide whether or not to grant a permit for this purpose. 1 1 1 46 Under Communications, the Clerk read a letter to Councilman Bettencourt from the Savannah Transit Authority on the subject of additional bus service to Tybee Island during the summer months. This was accepted as information. Councilman Fleetwood then commented that a letter had been received from a grammar school class suggesting that a groin be constructed out of used rubber tires to help retard erosion of the beaches. The school children were commended for their interest and the Clerk was instructed to reply to their communication. The First. Reading of an amendment providing square footage necessary for multi -unit developments was introduced. A copy of this ordinance is attached to, and becomes a part of, these minutes. After the reading Councilman Jung moved its acceptance, Councilman Owen seconded and it was unanimously carried. Second reading is scheduled for the next regular meeting. , Mr. Bruce Howe, attorney.representing Ratchford and Moore, petitioners, then presented to Council an amended petition for Lots 3 & 4 of Oceanview Subdivision. This petition, originally heard in December, 1979 and tabled by Council at that time, has been amended to request a Planned Unit Development rather than the original request for Residential- Tourist Zoning. City Attorney Lance Smith read an excerpt from the minutes of the Planning Commission which recommended approval of this request. Councilman Fleetwood stated that this land is a portion of the old golf course property, and that the three -acre area of which these lots are a part, are all zoned Residential - One. He prefers that no petition for zoning change be granted though he believes that he may be ineligible to vote because he is a property owner in the immediate area. 1 47 With special permission from Mayor Counihan, Mr. J.T. McCusker, owner of the lots in question, spoke in favor of granting the PUD. Councilman Alexander stated that he personally feels Council- man Fleetwood should declare himself ineligible to vote on this issue. After further discussion, Councilman Alexander moved that, in accordance with the recommendation of the Planning Commission, the petition for PUD be granted; Councilman Jung seconded. During discussion Councilman Bettencourt asked for the names of the members of the Planning Commission who were present when the petition was presented - the Clerk read this list of names for the information of the Council, and Mrs. McDonald, chairman of the Planning Commission, explained the Commission's position. Councilman Owen then asked if water and sewer service is available in that area, and Earl Anderson, Zoning Administrator, stated that this will be the responsibility of the developer. Councilman Jung then amended the motion to add a statement to the effect that the water and sewer must be the responsibility of the developer. The amendment, a -4 a$ and the motion, carried unanimously. Councilman Fleetwood The following resolution was then read: WHEREAS, PAUL C. HERNANDEZ, A RESIDENT OF THE CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA, IS THE OWNER OF LOTS 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, BLOCK 3, BAY WARD, TYBEE ISLAND, BEING IDENTIFIED AS PIN 4 -22 -02 -002, WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA; AND WHEREAS, SAID CITY IS,THE OWNER OF AN ABANDONED RAILROAD RIGHT -OF -WAY WHICH ABUTS THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PROPERTY OF THE SAID PAUL C. HERNANDEZ TO THE SOUTH; AND WHEREAS, THE CITY HAS NO USE FOR SAID PROPERTY AND THE SAID PAUL C. HERNANDEZ HAS HERETOFORE PETITIONED FOR A CONVEYANCE OF FORTY (40) FEET OF SAID RIGHT -OF -WAY WHICH ABUTS HIS PROPERTY; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE PETITION OF PAUL C. HERNANDEZ IS APPROVED AND ACTED UPON FAVORABLY AND THE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEN OF THE CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO EXECUTE, AND THE CLERK IS AUTHORIZED TO ATTEST, A QUITCLAIM DEED CONVEYING TO THE SAID PAUL C. HERNANDEZ FORTY (40) FEET OF SAID RIGHT -OF -WAY WHICH ABUTS LOTS 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15, BLOCK 3, BAY WARD, CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA, PIN 4 -22 -02 -002. 1 1 1 48 After a brief discussion, Councilman Alexander moved that the quit claim be granted and Councilman Bettencourt seconded. The vote was four in favor and none against. Councilman Fleetwood abstained. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. AgELLAA.A...6. LERK OF COUiiLAI-IR • 1 T eti t on to c:7.n=: r_ �u To the City Clerk, Contest ,t of Election 48A r muni ci n 1 c?. ; c'„_.i. May C, 1930. 1 hereby c-:nt.eot the results of said election and request a herinL; before the gobornin,r. body. I contest on the follow in grounds: conce :•ning gathering of department heads and city erscnel at ;_h., elec.`-'on polls. Violations of c. vil ri °hts of electors and irregularities of voters rori -ti Lion. ''Ya] coniuct of ?ublic official inside City Hall election Illegal vote recicved. PHYLLIS L. CARY CITY TREASURER ROWENA B. FRIPP CLERK OF COUNCIL 1 1 W LANCE SMITH, III RECORDER AND CITY ATTORNEY PHONE 786 -4573 M. J. COUNIHAN, MAYOR CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND Executive Offices — City Hall P. O. Box 128 TYBEE ISLAND, GA. 31328 May 8, 1980 Christopher P. Solomon, Petitioner #1 Miller Avenue Tybee Island, Georgia 31328 Dear Sir: 48B COUNCILMEN JEROME BETTENCOURT EDWARD JUNG WILLIAM FLEETWOOD NICK C. ALEXANDER KAREN LOSEY JOHN J. OWEN In response to the petition received by me this date, in which you as petitioner contested the municipal election held at Tybee Island on May 5, 1980, please be informed that in accordance with the Election Code of Georgia and the Tybee Island City Charter (Section 35 -3) a hearing will be held before the City Council at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 1980 in the Council Chambers at the Tybee Island City Hall. You are respectfully requested to attend. Thank you. Sin erely, Rowena B. Fripp Clerk of Council A4-R' 1 r 48C MUNICIPAL ELECTION CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA May 5, 1980 The League of Women Voters of Savannah - Chatham acting as poll watchers in this election expects to monitor the activities described below according to the HANDBOOK FOR GEORGIA MUNICIPAL ELECTION OFFICIALS CONTAINING PROVISION OF THE GEORGIA MUNICIPAL ELECTION CODE AS AMENDED THROUGH REGULAR SESSION 1979. 1. Examine voting machines. a. Compare numbers on voting machine and key envelope. b. Examine every counter to see that it registers zero. c. Inspect the ballot labels. 2. Monitor balloting. a. Except if an elector requests assistance from another elector who is not a poll officer, or from a relative, no more than one person shall be in a voting booth at a time. b. All persons except those authorized shall remain outside the enclosed space. 3. Monitor campaigning within 250 feet of poll. a. No soliciting for votes by any means. b. No printed matter posted except that designating the cut- off point of 250 feet. 4. Monitor closing of poll. a. Examine counters on voting coaching. b. Compare the numbers registered on the counters with those numbers recorded on official lists of returns. VL6/t ;la • 1 -4 - 4-u �2 G c, act / ! Hti %v/GrZ�rlrC� G'-c 19e! %�jti c�'L�vs d G2.4 / �/ LEAGUE OF. w0 ;VEN VOTERS OF SAVANNAH • CHATHAM 221 EAST YCG'K STREET SAVANNAH, GEORGIA 31401 1 1 The League of Women Voters 48D 321 E. York St. Savannah, Georgia 31401 of Savannah-Chatham May 7, 1980 Enclosed is the list of criteria which guided the monitoring by the League of Women Voters of the Tybee City elections, May 5, 1980. Regarding numbers 1 and 4 of that list: MACHINE SEAL PROTECTIVE PUBLIC NUMBER NUMBER COUNTER NO. COUNTER NO. OPEN POLL 73438 35292 012263 CLOSE POLL " B -42197 012678 li VOTE CAST " 415 415 OPEN POLL 73439 35291 018202 CLOSE POLL to B -42196 018623 421 VOTE CAST " OPEN POLL 73437 35290 012985 CLOSE POLL " B -42198 013034 4c VOTE CAST " 49 49 421 421 VOTE CAST, TOTAL 885 885 League failed to fulfill 4b of the criteria list, so it has no recapitulation record to reconcile the number of votes as shown on the machines with the number of names on the List of Voters. Regarding number 2 on the list of monitoring criteria: League could see no irregular condition inside the "enclosed space" which required the presence of a uniformed officer to circle the space for several mi- nutes twice during the course of the voting. Regarding number 3 on the list: Candidate Counihan was in the building housing the poll early and late in the elections day and several times during the day. The candidate loitered within the 250 feet area in which campaigning was to be prohibited. The League feels the candidate - failed o ob- serve the intent of the Georgia Election Code. League feels the May 5, 1980 Elections, Tybee, GA, p. 2 intent of the code is to prevent in the immediate area of the polls any activity which might be interpreted as campaigning. Candidate Solomon used a megaphone to project his voice to be heard within the 250 feet space wherein campaign activities are pro- hibited. This, too, League finds objectionable. Tybee police officers milled about just outside the doors of the polling place throughout the day, at one time blocking easy access to the inside of the building. It would have been more ap- propriate, League feels, for the officers to have stationed them- selves outside the immediate area. Some voters may have felt in- timidated by the presence of the officers at the entrance. Virginia Brown, President 1 1