Attorneys for the D.C. government plan to ask for expedited court action before the Nov. 6 election on their contention that a voter initiative that would require the city to provide overnight shelter for the homeless is improperly included on the ballot.
The D.C. Corporation Counsel is preparing legal briefs asking that Superior Court rules be suspended so the city's contention can be heard quickly.
A Superior Court judge Tuesday refused to strike the initiative from the ballot pending a further court ruling, saying that voters would incur more harm than would the city if they were denied a chance to vote on the issue.
But Judge Richard S. Salzman, in denying the city's request for a preliminary injunction to bar a vote on the initiative, also said that the city is likely to prevail in its claim that the initiative is improper.
City officials contend that the question should not be placed on the ballot because it would interfere with the District's budget process.
The Corporation Counsel is expected to ask for a summary judgment on its suit against the city's elections board, rather than appeal Salzman's ruling to the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Such requests normally cannot be heard until 20 days after an initial ruling from the lower court.
The request for a waiver is based on the fact that the 20-day period would not end until after the Nov. 6 election.
Although they concede that they have no precise estimate on how much the initiative would cost if it were approved, city officials assert that it would entitle the homeless to public shelter and would make the city a magnet for them.
Private organizations that currently provide shelter would discontinue their services, shifting the burden to taxpayers, the officials contend.
Advocates of the initiative challenge the city's position, saying there is no evidence that the District would have to spend any more for the homeless than it does now.