City Referéndum May be Challenged Talk of Recall of Melton


Section 2. - Referendum.

A. If within thirty (30) days following the adoption of an ordinance or resolution by the Commission, a petition, signed by the qualified electors, in a number no less than twenty (20) per cent of the average number of voters who voted at the previous four (4) regular City elections or no less than twenty (20) per cent of the number of voters who voted at the previous regular City election, whichever is greater, is presented to the Commission asking that the ordinance or resolution in question be submitted to a special election for its adoption or rejection, the ordinance or resolution shall become ineffective and the Commission shall provide for an election on the measure within sixty (60) days of the filing of the petition.

B. The ballot shall contain the text of the ordinance or resolution in question. Below the text shall be the phrases:

"for" and


with spaces for crosses after each word.

If a majority of the votes cast favor the measure, it shall take effect immediately. If a majority of the votes cast are against the measure, it shall not take effect.

C. If an ordinance or resolution is an emergency measure, it shall go into effect immediately, but it shall be subject to repeal by an adverse majority at a referendum election.

D. The referendum procedure of this section shall not be available for any ordinance authorizing bonds or other obligations where such ordinance, bonds or other obligations previously have been approved at a City election.

The resolution declaring the City of Alamogordo as a “sanctuary for the unborn”was proposed by District 3 Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton, in collaboration with his domestic partner, Candidate for state Representative John Block with the visible support of County Commissioner Couy Griffin.

It appears the three, Melton, Block and Griffin are focused together on this very private topic that is between a man, woman, medical provider and their clergy and should not have government interference in that decision making process. Melton was not elected but was appointed. 

Sources tell that Melton proposed this resolution because he and his domestic partner were upset the “county stole their thunder and that of the city in relation to their agenda by passing it first.” 

Melton's resolution came after a similar resolution declaring Otero County a sanctuary for life passed at its July 14 meeting.

Nicole Maxwell of the Alamogordo News August 9th, online edition reported:

“Alamogordo resident Ashlie Myers said she was opposed to the City of Alamogordo declaring itself as a sanctuary for the unborn, after it passed a resolution against abortion.

Myers is in the beginning stages of petitioning for a referendum on the resolution approved by the city council in a 5-2 vote at an Aug. 2 special meeting.

"Per the City Charter, if we get 20% of previous municipal elections' votes on the petition, we can force a public vote on the resolution the City passed," Myers said.

The petition would need about 600 signatures to be filed with the City of Alamogordo.”

At the meeting where the resolution was approved, Payne said that although she was against legal abortion, she questioned if policy regarding the medical practice was within the purview of the City Council.

Mayor Payne and Commissioner Sharon McDonald the two women on the commission opposed the resolution and both have raised concerns that the resolution could have repercussions for the city.

Repercussions are being felt investors in downtown business interests are walking a fine line of evaluating rather they want to invest where city priorities appear to be social issues verses business growth and crime prevention. And now the resolution comes at a potential cost and further distraction to the city if the petition moves forward then the cost and distraction of a special election would commence further distracting the city and community members from its mission and commitment to the community to act fiscally responsible for its citizens.

Further repercussions could impact Mr. Meltons future as sources also tell that there is consideration at drafting a recall of Mr Melton per the city charter as well.

Given Melton was appointed and not elected this could make for a very interesting legal discussion before the city and legal circles…

Section 3. - Recall.

Any City Commissioner, including the Mayor, is subject to a recall election. Upon petition seeking a recall of a Commissioner or Mayor, the Commission shall call a special election within sixty (60) days, unless the regular City election occurs within ninety (90) days.

Notice of Intent to circulate a petition for recall must be dated and filed with the City Clerk and shall include a statement of the reason for the recall. Each page of a recall petition, before any signatures are signed to it, must be endorsed by the manual or facsimile signature of the City Clerk and the date of filing of Notice of Intent; the City Clerk shall provide this without charge. The recall petition must be submitted to the City Clerk with the requisite number of signatures, within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the date of filing the Notice of Intent.

The petition shall be signed by no less than twenty (20) percent of the number of registered voters in that Commissioner's district at the time the Commissioner was elected. If the petition seeks to recall the Mayor, the petition shall be signed by no less than twenty (20) percent of the number of registered voters residing in the City at the time the Mayor was elected. The special recall election of a Commissioner shall be held only in that Commissioner's district. The special recall election of a Mayor shall be citywide.

If a majority favors recall and this majority equals or exceeds the number of votes the Commissioner or the Mayor received when elected, the office shall be declared vacated, and the office shall be filled as are other vacancies. A Commissioner or Mayor who is recalled shall not be eligible for re-election until the term for which the Commissioner was originally elected has expired.

If a recall election results in a failure to secure the votes necessary to recall, the Commissioner or Mayor who is the subject of the election shall not again be subject to recall until after six (6) months from the date of the recall election.

(Amd. of 3-18-97; Amd. of 3-6-12; Amd. of 3-1-16)

County Commissioner Couy Griffin, empowered and defiant remained in office following a recall effort, however his reputation was significantly tarnished and he is not running for re-election. 

Mr Melton was not elected but appointed and has yet to sponsor a significant piece of legislation excepting for the championing of a resolution that has no power of law since his appointment. 

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