With just days left until the July 15th deadline, it remains anyone’s guess as to whether the police & fire unions, Arlington GOP & Arlington Greens pushing to turn Arlington’s form of government upside down will successfully file the required 14,000 petition signatures in time. I’m told no signature gatherers were spotted in key locations this morning, a reflection of the bad weather (though Arlington Democratic field organizing champs like Kip Malinosky & Charley Conrad would never let that stop them).
“The referendum proponents have refused, despite the Arlington Voter Registrar’s public requests to do so, to submit the petitions they have collected so far to the Registrar,” says Peter Rousselot, the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s liaison to the Coalition for Arlington Good Government. “Since they have been collecting them since November 2009, they obviously must have collected thousands of signatures on hundreds of pages of petitions already. Their failure to submit them before July 15 will impose additional expense on Arlington taxpayers for overtime labor. What are they hiding?”
That’s not the only mystery surrounding the would-be government changers. The campaign’s organizers have refused to deny a rumor that their executive director, Dena Kozanas, left at the end of June under cloudy circumstances. They’ve refused to confirm or deny they’re paying non-Arlingtonians to collect signatures. And as Arlington County Board Member Walter Tejada detailed this week to WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi, he was approached recently by a government change supporter who didn’t have a great grasp of the facts.
Given their trouble attracting voter interest, I’m not surprised the Arlington GOP & Greens would latch on to a half-baked idea like this. But in talking to Arlington voters, it’s public safety union leaders who are taking the real hit here. It’s clear they’re willing to risk so much of what Arlingtonians care about for their own gain. Putting their own narrow interests above the community interest is the real reason that Arlington residents should decline to sign.