February 11, 2005
A lawsuit accusing Mesa of violating federal election law has been deemed moot.
Tom Irvine, an attorney representing Riverview at Dobson referendum leader David Molina, told a threejudge panel Thursday in U.S. District Court that his requested injunction to stop the election process was no longer necessary because the city was granted preclearance for the May 17 election.
The lawsuit alleged Mesa had violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by failing to seek preclearance from the Department of Justice before the City Council voted Jan. 13 to set the special election date.
Mesa requested preclearance on Jan. 28 and received its response on Wednesday.
Robert Berman, a Department of Justice attorney, told the courtroom by speakerphone that because Mesa’s preclearance was issued expeditiously, a challenge can be raised within 60 days.
Berman said this occurs "extraordinarily infrequently."
But, the panel decided to retain jurisdiction over the case until April 11 with the parties filing a joint status report on or before that date.
Irvine said he does not plan to challenge the merits of the preclearance.
On Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge denied the developers’ request to stop the election by ruling that the referendum petitions were valid.
The 250-acre Riverview project at Dobson Road and Loop 202 would be anchored by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and would also include a movie theater, "big-box" retail stores, auto dealerships and a business park.