Home Local Politics Coalition for Arlington Good Government Says Submit Petitions Now

Coalition for Arlington Good Government Says Submit Petitions Now

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I just received this press release from the Coalition for Arlington Good Government and thought it was worth passing along. To my knowledge, all of us here at Blue Virginia oppose this change-of-government petition, as does (unanimously) the Arlington County Democratic Committee and most elected officials in Arlington. It’s worth pointing out that among those supporting this idea are the Arlington Republicans. Hmmm…

ARLINGTON COALITION SAYS: FILE PETITIONS NOW, AVOID COSTS AND DELAYS IN REGISTRAR’S REVIEW

The Coalition for Arlington Good Government, a citizen voter education organization, called on proponents of the change-of-government petition being circulated in Arlington to immediately file all petition signatures they have collected.

“Petition supporters have been circulating their change of government petition in Arlington for over 200 days.” said Alan Howze, Co-Chair of the Coalition for Arlington Good Government (CAGG). “In the interest of good government and transparency, we call upon the referendum proponents to immediately submit the petitions that they have collected to Arlington’s Voter Registrar for review.  Submitting the signatures now will not change the outcome, but further delays by referendum supporters in submitting petition signatures will impose additional expenses on Arlington taxpayers for overtime labor.”

 

Leaders of the petition effort have said they already have enough signatures to get their referendum question on the ballot.  Arlington Republican activist and petition collector John Antonelli commented last weekend on www.arlnow.com[i] that “from what I know and I am a signature collector, we have the 14 K we just need the overage in case some drop out…everything I have heard is that we have the cake and just need [the] icing,” referring to the requirement that petition supporters file 14,350 valid signatures by July 15.  Mike Staples, the originator of the petition drive, has asserted to CAGG that petition supporters already have the petition signatures they need.

“There’s no benefit to Arlington voters in refusing to allow Arlington’s Voter Registrar to do her job reviewing the petitions.” said Judy Connally, another CAGG Co-Chair.  “Irrespective of whether the petition supporters have enough signatures or not, they have a civic obligation to honor the public request of the Registrar to file their petitions as soon as they can, rather than waiting until the July 15 deadline to dump all the petitions in the Registrar’s lap.”

Arlington Registrar Linda Lindberg  was quoted in the Sun Gazette that waiting until the July 15 deadline “could lead to a mad dash-and an expensive one-to meet state deadlines for verifying them” because that would mean her office “would have to pay overtime and hire temporary workers to do the verifying.”[ii]

  • jfontaine

    I know our that the is a knee jerk reaction to reject anything the republicans suggest, but I’m going to sign the petition, though I’m still undecided on my vote.

    After a friend of mine won a recent voting rights case in Fremont County Wyoming to force a ward system I got a bit of a historical education on the institution of at large voting in America.  The story goes like this ward based systems were the norm in America until Jim Crow laws swept the nation.  At Large was a key element of Jim Crow as it allowed majority white populations to disenfranchise African American and minority neighborhoods.  In the case of Fremont County, the at large system was used to disenfranchise the Native Amicans on the Wind River Reserevation.  

    At Large systems have been fought by progressive people for the last 100 years and have often been used as a tool to overwhelm local community interests.  The very language used by the opponents of the petition drive is troubling to me.  The scare tactics of patronage systems that speak to a kind of corruption and evil created by empowering those people, is counter to my personal views of community empowerment.  

    I look at the currrent board and while there are many progressive and democratic things I like, I have my doubts.  I’ve seen too many moments where a developer comes in waving a big check and neighbor’s concerens are ignored.  I also look at the current process of discussion on the redevelopment of the Career Center and relocation of the Columbia pike Branch of the Library as a clear case were a direct reporting structure vs the current board system might allow a more open process.  As I wrote I’m not sure how I’ll vote in the fall, but I’m going to sign the petition to try to get a better convsation going on is topic.