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VOE Repeal: Still Dead

Mere days after announcing that a technological glitch may have led to the failure of the public campaign repeal, elections officials have released their new findings: Not only is the repeal still dead, but it actually lost signatures on the recount.

The Central Voter Registration Database apparently led to the mislabeling of some petition signers as "not registered" when, in fact, they were registered. Correcting this error allowed repeal backers First Things First to pick up 49 new valid signatures.

But, the state also discovered that the city didn't fully examine the petition sheets, and found numerous sheets that were improperly dated by circulators—enough to have 186 sheets tossed out.

Most of the petition circulation was handled by Democracy Resources, which has received $170,000 from FTF.

The final tally: FTF and their downtown business allies came up 836 short of the 26,691 valid signatures needed to qualify for the May ballot. SCOTT MOORE

Pay Back

On Wednesday, February 22, the city council approved a set of regulations on the city's bustling payday loan industry. The new law, introduced by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, stops short of imposing an interest rate limit—that's something only the state can do—but forces payday lenders to offer payment plans, and give borrowers the right to cancel a loan within 24 hours. Also, lenders can't "roll over" or extend the loan unless the borrower pays part of the principal. The rules are intended to help vulnerable borrowers avoid a downward spiral of debt.

Lenders showed up in force at the Wednesday night council meeting, saying they already followed good business practices that made Saltzman's proposal redundant. One lender asked to meet with the council to come up with legislation that the payday loan industry could get on board with. City Commissioner Sam Adams shot him down: "It's disingenuous to say they want to work with us at this hour. It's a little bit too little, and a little bit too late." AMY JENNIGES

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