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CAGG: Thousands of Petition Signatures May Be Invalid

by ARLnow.com — July 27, 2010 at 3:56 am 2,538 93 Comments

With the petition to change Arlington’s form of government heading toward near-certain defeat, the Coalition for Arlington Good Government is trying to slam the last nail in the coffin with explosive allegations of possible fraud and illegal practices by the pro-petition Committee for a Better Arlington.

CAGG, a largely Democratic group set up to oppose the change-of-government proposal, alleges that CBA used hired, out-of-state signature gatherers who were legally ineligible to circulate petitions in Arlington. Then, CAGG suggests, two individuals may have falsely signed affidavits claiming to have collected the signatures actually gathered by the out-of-town contractors. More than 6,000 signatures may be invalid as a result, CAGG says.

The two individuals in question collected a suspiciously large number of signatures in an unusual manner, according to CAGG. Other evidence, methodically laid out in a nine-page PDF file, calls into question the integrity of the affidavit portion of the petitions, some of which appear to have different handwriting for the same individual.

CAGG also questions the ethics and judgment of former CBA campaign manager Dena Kozanas. The group says Kozanas did double-duty as a notary for more than half the submitted petition sheets, in violation of the conflict-of-interest provision in the code of conduct for notaries in the state of Virginia.

ARLnow.com is awaiting comment from CBA chairman Mike Staples.

  • Darwin

    They should have hired ACORN, they can commit fraud in elections and receive praise for it!

    • Fat Kid.

      or Karl Rove & Michael Steele – both far experienced in election fraud.

  • Glad someone said it

    It was clear from discussions that scores of friends of mine had with signature collectors that many of them were from out of state and thus ineligible to collect the signatures for the petition. It was clear, then, from the hiring of these people that the COG people intended to have someone perjure him or herself in order to validate the signatures–otherwise, why even have these people collecting them?

    • John Antonelli

      From one who was involved with this CAGG is blowing smoke and of they had concerns they should have voiced them then. As for Dena, we could not have had a better manager.

      • Charles Foster Kane

        >>As for Dena, we could not have had a better manager.

        Then why is her picture on the side of a milk carton?

      • Um

        How could CAGG have voiced concerns over perjured affidavits before the affidavits were submitted and made public?

  • Seeing is believing

    Hard to believe the petitions were done on the up-and-up in the face of analysis like this: “Therefore, just four circulators claim to have collected 68% of all the petitions filed. It took an additional 34 circulators combined to provide the remaining 32% of the total number of petitions.”

    The info and exhibits on the CAGG website definitely make for interesting reading.

  • Matt W.

    People from CAGG were intimidating voters and trying to intimidate signature collectors as well. If someone who was interested in signing I was happy to tell them where I lived. For those trying to intimidate those interested in a civil discussion I didn’t give them personal information. I did hear about a man that used a shopping cart in a threatening manner until a signature collector produced a driver’s license. These claims a poorly sourced and should be discounted as such.

    • Alan H

      Matt W, each allegation of misconduct by CBA is carefully documented and you can review the source documents for each allegation on the CAGG website – http://www.arlingtoncoalition.org. Your name appears on the list of circulators (with a high petition count – you clearly worked hard on the effort) and those like yourself who legally collected signatures have nothing to hide. It’s the clear evidence of signatures that were collected by one person and then signed off on by another that is the problem. The evidence is overwhelming that the paid petition collectors (unlike yourself) used out-of-town collectors and then had them signed off by someone else.

      • TGEoA

        There is no proof of this. The signatures MATCH.

  • Let’s Be Free

    Arlington Now, you are reporting innuendo and speculation.

    I encountered one of the petition gatherers on four different days in four different places, as early as 7:00 am and as late as 9:00 pm. In the very short time I was around I saw the gentleman collect probably 200 signatures. Over the months that petitions were in the field, he could easily have garnered thousands.

    Somebody has committed fraud because they started a list on a new form before completing another? My God, just as one example, every time I do my taxes I do that. If that is fraud then I’ve committed fraud three times, five times, nay hundreds of times in my life. Lock me up and throw away the key.

    The progressive lords and the liberal lemmings of Arlington aren’t accustomed to hard work and persistence. In their obtuse universe every lazy bum and each real criminal is a victim to be coddled and excused. Someone who produces extraordinarily just can’t be. The hard workers are to be punished, taxed, slandered and smeared because they expose the free riders and the Progressive Pinocchios as the real frauds.

    • http://thegreenmiles.blogspot.com TheGreenMiles

      I love how Arlington Republicans think they can dismiss any inconvenient truths as innuendo & speculation. Campaign manager left under mysterious circumstances? Innuendo & speculation! Arlington GOP only supporting the change of government because they know they can’t win elections with their George Bush politics & Karl Rove tactics? Innuendo & speculation!

      • TGEoA

        Your blog is a trip. How’s that green job working out for you? Oh, you are too poor to live in Arlington anymore. Go figure.

      • Let’s Be Free

        Hey GreenMiles, do you live in Falls Chuch City, or in the Fall Church section of Fairfax County? And where do you vote?

      • Darwin

        FYI I wouldn’t use the term “inconvenient truth”, it has too much of an association with a now discredited movie.

        • Sheesh

          Amazing that the CAGG presents evidence of questionable petition gathering and now it is suddenly “they’re saying it’s fraud because a petition circulator started a new page!”. No, if you read and digest the document that CAGG has presented, the CAGG has identified questionable activities. Having the executive director of the change of government group serving as the notary for the petitions is a major red flag and is enough for me to want the campaign to provide a response. Where are their responses? They haven’t updated their website or Twitter account since the end of June.

    • Thes

      LBF, like everyone else, you saw a *man* gathering signatures (however industriously). I have a feeling there are a lot of voters who will be surprised to find their own name witnessed by a woman when the person who saw them sign was a man.

      • TGEoA

        When I signed there was a man and a woman there at the same time collecting signatures.

        What the CAGG people are doing is shameless. They are deliberatly trying to disenfranchise the people that signed this petition.

    • Ali

      How can a single person gather 200 signatures in 2 hours? 100 per hour? Almost 2 per minute? How can a person explain the reason for the petition and get a signature in that short amount of time. If it were that easy and that fast to get signatures, they could have have had 50,000.

      • Let’s Be Free

        Ali, the way you get lots of signature is to have multiple clipboards and multiple forms so a number of people can be reviewing the petition and, if they so desire, writing and signing without waiting for the another. But that is too simple and ordinary of an explanation of partially completed forms for the know-it-all elitists that run the Arlington Democrat political machine.

        • Which Still Doesn’t Explain

          the weirdness of someone else filling out the address portion of the affidavits, or the false notarization, or the clear conflict of interest invalidating the campaign manager’s notarizations, or the fact that no one saw these two women collecting signatures anywhere.

          • Let’s Be Free

            My God, a notary makes a mistake on one petition and the sky is falling down.

            If the women didn’t actually collect the signatures, it sounds like there ought to be thousands of witnesses. Bring those witnesses forward instead of relying on high-priced lawyers hired by the Democrat machine to smear and convict by speculation and innuendo.

            As far as using one notary for many of the petitions, I remember when notaries were common, they are a scarce breed these days, so that is not the least bit surprising to use the same notary over and over, particularly a notary you have easy acesss to.

            In my experience, such notaries as are out there are frequently found in banks, real estate firms and lawyer’s offices. Their employers have a business relationship with and are frequently performing services for the people whose names are being notarized. To say that this is an impermissible conflict of interest would make almost every notary I’ve run across in my life guilty of this ridiculous kind of conflict of interest charge. The conflict of interest allegation is just one in a series of wild, incredulous and fatuous claims.

          • Burden of Proof

            CAGG has nothing to prove here–no burden for them to produce a thing. I can think of some people at CBA, on the other hand, who have some serious explaining to do. But they won’t–because they can’t.

          • Let’s Be Free

            And just to put the final nail in the speculation coffin, I don’t know how many times I’ve written in information on a form my wife has signed or vice versa. Like that means something other than we help each other out? Reading something into the address writing is nothing but slimy and and supercilous speculation.

          • Burden of Proof

            Oh, and it’s a very different thing for a secretary to notarize a statement for his or her attorney than it is for a campaign manager to notarize a statement on which her campaign hinges–the secretary has no interest whatsoever in whether the attorney is lying.

          • Let’s Be Free

            That’s right, I’ve never heard of attorneys, their employees and clients colluding or propagating any lies. Thanks for confirming that never happens. And we know how bankers and real estate professionals are 100 percent honest, 100 percent of the time. I can’t imagine any situation where they might have an incentive to lie, distort or deceive.

        • Stating the obvious.

          That’s right, Let’s Be Free – and now you can add “petition circulators” to your list.

  • Matt W.

    Alan, The “evidence” is a poorly souced and circumstantial smear designed to intimidate your political opponents and grab the local news cycle. It was very clever to have your volunteers intimidate signature collectors and then marvel that they won’t tell them their address right then and there.
    I also find it interesting that you seem to attack women for being “industrious”. CBA wants to move Arlington forward, but Alan seems to want to take the women of Arlington back to the 1950′s.

    • Charles Foster Kane

      >>I also find it interesting that you seem to attack women for being “industrious”

      Special of the Day at Matt W.’s Fish Market: Red Herring!

    • Industrious Woman

      The tenor of this change of government movement has been aggressive from the beginning. Still, I saw plenty of people working side-by-side peacefully for both sides at the Lee-Harrison Safeway. Maybe Matt W was one of them?

      I also saw a lot more women with Decline to Sign materials than I ever saw holding a clipboard.

    • Alan H

      Matt, let me repeat that the information is very clearly sourced and documented in 8 separate exhibits on the CAGG website – http://www.arlingtoncoalition.org – and is available also through the petition batches posted on the registrars site. As I mentioned you clearly worked hard. I and others saw you collecting signatures on a number of occasions – and you turned in over 5% of all the signatures collected. And yet, two other people, women who were not seen out collecting signatures (the reports of signature collectors were overwhelmingly of men collecting), each turned in more than 4 times more signatures than you did – each turning in over 20% of the signatures collected. And if you look at Exhibit 3 on the CAGG website you will clearly see that the signatures blocks were filled in by multiple people and then signed off on by these two women. So were they so industrious that they were able to single handedly collect thousands of signatures, but were not able to fill out the affadavits section of the petition form in their own handwriting? Or, as is more likely the case, did the paid out-of-town collectors collect the signatures, fill out the affidavit section, and then turn them to the paid petition collection firm, who had them signed out by these two individuals? The evidence may be inconvenient for you, but it comes directly from the petitions submitted by CBA.

  • John F

    Shouldn’t the social security numbers be blanked out on the evidence examples as they are on the county website? Shame on the CACG for exposing the ssn”s of the petition gatherers. I’m curious as to how the cacg has copies of the petitions that are not blanked out. Did they have a physical copy of the sheets?

    • Thes

      CAGG’s press release says the petition sheets are also available from the Clerk’s office. Apparently the Clerk’s office removed the voters’ SSNs but was not required to remove the witnesses’ SSNs. Probably a good thing, too, in case anyone needs to locate these folks. Who the heck are these Natasha and Cheryl people, anyway? Has anyone ever met them?

    • Alan H

      The original exhibits were taken exactly from material publicly available at the Clerk’s office, as we were entitled by law to do. Earlier today we re-posted the same exhibits, redacting SS#’s provided by the petition circulators.

  • Matt W.

    Alan’s so-called evidence is circumstantial and a baseless political smear. Alan was out on weekends and didn’t see many women with clipboards. How can a reasonable person not infer that Alan assumes that women aren’t industrious enough to evade his volunteers or collect signatures during the week. Alan also suggests via his so-called evidence that women are not capable of operating a clipboard with 25 legal sized pieces of paper on it. This CAGG hit piece is a smear and should be reported as such.
    Alan after relying on so many women as volunteers, why do you think less of women and their industriousness?

    • Talk to them, not about them

      Matt, why are you speaking for Cheryl and Natasha? I’m sure you support their rights as women to speak for themselves.

      Rather than arguing over what they did or didn’t do, why not just ask them directly?

    • Jack

      Mike, Playing the sexist card is pathetic. As someone who has circulated petitions, I can tell you that given the alleged dates of circulation by Cheryl and Natasha (and the fact that no one saw them circulating) it is simply implausible that they collected and witnessed all these signatures themselves. Want to back them up? Where were they on those dates? Where are they now? Can you explain that? If not, you have no credibility either.

    • Alan H

      Matt, I’m sure you are frustrated that all your hard work has been undermined by the mistakes and misrepresentation made by out-of-state petition firms.

      But let’s review the facts. CBA hired out of state petition firms to collect signatures (the payments are on their financial disclosure report), 68% of the signatures CBA submitted were signed off as having been collected by 4 people, there are handwriting discrepancies and consistent field reports that undermine the claim that two women each submitted over 20% of the signatures, the notary that signed off on these signatures was none other than the CBA’s paid campaign manager, and some of the signatures were signed on a date AFTER a page had been notarized by the CBA campaign manager.

      All of this evidence casts a cloud over a set of the signatures that CBA submitted – not those collected and signed by people such as yourself – but those likely collected by the out-of-state petition firm.

      The CBA and its consultants owe the public, and hardworking volunteers such as yourself, an explanation.

      And for those who want to see the information first-hand – go to http://www.arlingtoncoalition.org and read the exhibits and decide for yourself.

  • Union man

    I think if CBA wants to refute these allegations they should simply produce Cheryl and Natasha and let them explain themselves. Perhaps an intrepid reporter can find them. I’m not holding my breath on being able to do that. The CBA (i.e. the Firefighters Union) can also explain why they hired a petition circulating firm, Silver Bullet, LLC that works regularly against union interests on right-to-work petitions. In fact, CBA didn’t even use a union printer for their materials.

    Its just simply amazing that the unions (fire and police) spent $45,000 on out-of-state consultants (who did a terrible job) to further what amounts to a grudge between Mike Staples and the former county manager. They spent all this money, lied about what the ballot measure would really do to Arlington, committed what appears to be petition fraud, and they didn’t even get the required 14,350 signatures. I’ve never seen anything more stupid and incompetent in my life.

    • Union Woman

      Amen!

    • TGEoA

      Why use non-union contractors? Because even unions know if you want value for your dollar, you don’t buy union.

    • Alison

      amazing. They really are anti-union. Didn’t anyone in the firefighter’s union look at the website? Maybe they can get their money back.

      Silver Bullet says they ask petition gatherers to sign a code of conduct. Let’s see those signatures.

      “If we hear of any petitioner violating any part of election law, we’ll encourage law enforcement to prosecute, we’ll cooperate with any investigation, and if permitted we’ll testify for the prosecution.”

  • Matt W.

    All these questions about who was where when clearly shows that Alan hasn’t even come close to proving anything with his so-called evidence. The questions of those commenting above show that Alan’s accusations are baseless political smears and have no substance to them.

    • Jack

      No, it’s the inability of the CBA petition gatherers to explain themselves that proves the case. The documents speak for themselves. The allegations appear irrefutable.

    • Thes

      You’re right, Matt, CAGG will be sooooooo embarrassed when ArlNow interviews Cheryl and Natasha for comment, and they explain where they got all those signatures. CAGG will have such egg on their face! Cheryl and Natasha will have 6000 witnesses to back up their story.

      Waiting….

      Waiting….

      Oh.

  • Matt

    I love how everyone who has, at best, only a minimal level of first hand involvement in this entire process, who have only witnessed what they read on the obviously biased respective side’s websites, are slamming each other on what they perceive as fact. Get over it people.

    The “effort” (which for reasons unknown to me, some see as an effort to overthrow our government in some sort of coup) was SIMPLY just trying to get the issue on the ballot. Let the people decide. What is so wrong with actually allowing the citizens to vote on something?

    • Jack

      Well, it appears not enough citizens agreed with the proposition to even get the requisite signatures to put it on the ballot. But the fact is this whole issue is a was falsely presented to the voters. The referendum question reads only, “Should Arlington adopt the County Board form of government?” Most Arlingtonians probably think we already have that because we have a county board. Why not sign?

      But of course not once did a proponent of the initiative ever tell a citizen, sign here and Arlington will lose its affordable housing ordinance, and Arlington won’t be able to regulate child care above state standards, and Bob McDonnell will get to decide who the candidates for health commissioner should be. Not once did a petition circulator try to convince a voter that these are good ideas and would come to pass if this measure succeeded.

      If they had, you wouldn’t have been able to collect even 5000 valid signatures.

  • ArlingtonAaron

    A. Remember everyone; this isn’t about disenfranchisement; as it is already clear that even with these ill-gotten signatures the numbers won’t add up… this is merely about holding to account those who carried out fraud.

    B. I don’t necessarily think that out of area paid gatherers should be illegal when such big numbers are required, especially when they end up being hired anyway… but it is against the law, and it seems like there is enough evidence here for further investigation which I presume would start with looking to prove that cog did in fact hire these outside the area workers.

    C. Really there isn’t much news in the content of the allegations… we all knew that this was exactly what was happening… what is news is that knowing that suspicion and scrutiny was at hand the cog folks did so little to cover their tracks… why not split up the ill-gotten signatures into smaller batches to be signed by known gatherers? Its almost like they wanted to be caught.

    • TGEoA

      Fraud? Prove it or shut up.

  • Matt W.

    Alan, According to your own pressrelease you claim of out of state people was based on signature collectors not telling people out to intimidate signers their address. Your so-called evidence is so circumstantial it can only be a political smear.

    • Jack

      Funny thing about political smears, Matt. Sometimes they are true. Got any evidence to the contrary?

    • Thes

      Matt, if you were part of the collection effort, just give ArlNow Cheryl and Natasha’s phone numbers and this will all be over shortly.

    • Alan H

      Matt, you keep repeating the same lines over and over – but repeating it will not make it true.

      Perhaps you, or the CBA, can also explain whose handwriting is on the address section of the affidavits signed by Natasha and Cheryl and why it varies so widely – as if perhaps the signatures were collected by multiple people and then signed off on by Cheryl or Natasha? Perhaps they can also explain why, if the two people in question really did do all of the collecting they claim, why they had so many concurrent, partially filled out forms – which is also consistent with having multiple people collecting signatures and then having them signed off on by the two signers in question? Perhaps you can also explain why this same pattern only appears on the sheets signed by the people in question and is not shown on the signatures legally collected and submitted by you, Mike Staples, Aaron Ringle, and the other collectors?

      Again, just a quick review of the facts. CBA hired out of state petition firms to collect signatures (the payments are on their financial disclosure report), 68% of the signatures CBA submitted were signed off as having been collected by 4 people, there are handwriting discrepancies and consistent field reports that undermine the claim that two women each submitted over 20% of the signatures, the notary that signed off on these signatures was none other than the CBA’s paid campaign manager, and some of the signatures were signed on a date AFTER a page had been notarized by the CBA campaign manager.

      Matt – let me repeat that the CBA and its consultants owe the public, and hardworking volunteers such as yourself, an explanation.

    • http://thegreenmiles.blogspot.com TheGreenMiles

      Innuendo & speculation!!!1!

  • North Arlington Common Sense

    What a fiasco. CBA does the right thing and hires out of state petition firms, ones who are smart enough to use cost-effective, non-union labor to generate signatures. But CBA buys too much into the “Arlington Way”, rather than, you know, “victory”. So they make a big show of having signature collectors on the ground, and then pick two chicks to sign off on all the forms. Amateurish.

    This is how CBA should have done the job:

    1. Head down to Regent and hire about 50 or so 1L’s and 2L’s to put in a few days of work after exams.
    2. Create a list of Arlington registered voters, purged of known Arlington Democrat types. Get the old National Security Agency lists from the RNC to cross-check for other leftist sympathizers, so those get expunged as well. You need to do this given how CAGG is on your case.
    3. Take pairs of petition forms, with 12 sigs on each side so you get 48 total.
    4. Assign each record a number between 1 and 50. Use the Excel random number generator.
    5. If a Regent laborer’s number matches the record, then the Regent laborer fills out that person’s name and address on the form. Use the NSA data to generate the last 4 digits of the SSN.
    6. The two remaining Regent laborers sign that they witnessed the signatures. Then take the petitions to a friendly Notary Public.
    7. Repeat until each laborer has signed for 48 voters, and has “collected” two petition forms. 50*48 = 2,400 “laundered” signatures.
    8. Do this 7 more times to get to 16,800. Or do it 8 times to get to 19,200, if you want the margin of error.

    At $15 per hour for 8 hours of work across 3 days for 50 people, you shell out $18,000 in labor costs (no benefits, of course). The benefit of shutting down affordable housing, saving Lyon Village, dismantling sexual orientation protections and unshackling day care providers: PRICELESS.

  • Matt W.

    Alan,
    Again with the claim that you don’t think women are industrious enough to work a clipboard with 25 pages on it?
    These are plain old smears with circumstantial evidence.
    All followed up with demands from a group formed to intimidate voters, disenfranchize them from having a say in how the county is run as well as interupt and shout down those that they disagree with.
    Thanks for the dirty tricks and smears!

    • Sad but True

      CAGG wouldn’t have had to have any volunteers present where CBA was collecting signatures if CBA’s people had been honest about what they were doing, and why.

    • 22205

      Matt, this is not your fault.

      You seem like a reasonable person who got screwed because the people running this circus were reckless and careless with the trust of Arlington voters by collecting many their signatures fraudulently.

      I saw your guys out there every weekend, in the sun, working hard. I would think you would be angry at the people who wasted your effort, and those of your legitimate colleagues.

      I don’t know why CBA is making you run interference for them. Where is campaign manager Dena? Where is the evidence to refute CAG’s claims?

  • Sad but True

    I notice there’s been no response from Staples yet.

  • Matt W.

    Sad But True,
    It was the CAGG people that were misstating the effects on the school board and ignoring Ron Carlee’s FOIA’d memo resticting access of public servant to elected officials. That memo was the basis of the case and it was straight from the County.

    • Union Man

      Fact: the school board would also be chosen by district and its numbers redefined under the proposal. Fact: Nothing in the Carlee memo prevented any union member from speaking to county board members during public comment at board meetings or personally, as Mike Staples and others can tell you they did many, many times.

      Besides, Mr. Carlee is gone, a new county manager is in town, and you’ve obviously had no problem raising the alleged issue publicly. The latest unofficial final tally from the Registrar shows the petition drive failed, fraud or no fraud. So perhaps this silly vendetta can now come to a close.

      Too bad no one will repay the unions their $45,000.

      • $45,000

        Union Man, I disagree only with your last point — no refunds!

        The union members need to take a good, hard look at what this effort has cost them, in terms of money, credibility, and respect.

        What a waste.

  • Matt W.

    Unionman,
    A preliminary legal analysis showed that the school board structure could have been easily maintained. The problem wasn’t ran-and-file access to elected officials the chiefs and dept heads have no access, b/c of VA law. This leads to the county manager ignoring calls for enouh medic units and calls for fixes to defective hydrolics on a rig that hurt a firfighter due to the restictions on communications by department heads. It is the official requests that should be heard in addition too public comment. Public comments even by public servants cannot carry the same weight as an official budget request.

    • Relieved

      What I never understood is how the new plan would have addressed the Firefighters’ grievances. And what would have happened if, having changed the government, they still didn’t get their way? And no Republicans ever got elected? Then what?

      • Matt W.

        Relieved,
        The change would have allowed the Police Chief and Fire Chief to talk directly to the elected officials of the county on the needs of the community. Something that is prohibited under this current form of government. The public safety employees of the county thought it important that the professional opinion of their leaders was provided directly to the elected officials of the county.

  • Eye-Opener

    Scott, thank you for your excellent ongoing reporting on this whole issue.

    No offense to the other posters here, but I assume ArlNOW will update the story if you hear from the other side. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      I certainly hope to have an official response from CBA. One individual associated with the organization has already declined to go on the record to respond to the story. Still awaiting a response from Mr. Staples.

      • Thes

        Natasha Robinson gives her address as 2207 Columbia Pike, and Cheryl Simmons gives hers at 5000-1 South 10th Street. Since these two Arlington residents seem to care very deeply about how Arlington is governed, perhaps they will be willing to go on the record and explain where they went to collect all those signatures. Maybe their neighbors have seen them? Probably would have remembered them juggling 35 clipboards at once …

        • Paid signature collectors?

          A quick web search suggests that 2207 Columbia Pike is the address of a non-profit that helps the homeless.

  • John

    Thank you Alan H. And CACG for the quick response on this SSN issue.

  • Matt W.

    Sheesh,
    CAGG has not shown any evidence of impropriety. The have built some spreadsheets and input some formulas. Their labors have produced a circumstantial smear based on percentages as well as the dubious claim that women are not industious enough to manage 26 petitions through the use of a clipboard.

    • No one is buying it

      Nice try, Matt W., but you’re going to have to do better than that.

      CBA’s silence on this issue today speaks volumes.

    • Seriously?

      This is getting embarrassing. You are distracting no one with these feeble attempts to downplay the seriousness of the report.

      By the way, the report says that one of your volunteers had 63 clipboards going in one day. Or just one very, very, very big clipboard.

  • Matt W.

    Seriously,
    I don’t want to distract anyone from the report. I do want everyone to see that CAGG used circumstantial percentages to unfairly smear their political opponents. After being shouted down while asking a citizen for their consideration I don’t think those that try to intimidate voters should also get to smear, with impunity, those working for a better government in Arlington.

    Seriously, you should actually read the report. CAGG’s circumstantial smear is over 25 pieces of paper not 63.

    • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

      What in the world is/are “circumstantial percentages”?

    • Thes

      Circumstantial evidence is still evidence, Matt. If your office-mate has been missing all day and there’s a pool of blood on your floor and you’re washing blood off your hands in the bathroom and a bloody knife in your back pocket and you’ve got your office-mate’s wallet in your teeth and his cell phone in your front pocket, that’s still *circumstantial* evidence. No one witnessed you kill your office mate. Sure, maybe you were filleting a roast beef in the break room, and possibly you found the wallet on the floor and were intending to give it back. Lots of people carry knives in their back pocket, sure. Maybe your office mate had a family emergency, sure. Sometimes he lets you borrow his cell phone, of course. But there comes a point where you really should have to answer some questions and not just attack the questioner. Even when the evidence is circumstantial. When it’s overwhelming.

      In this case those questions are based on more than just the insane claim by Natasha or Cheryl that each had 5 or 22 or 62 or whatever pages being filled out simultaneously (though that should be enough to demand that they explain themselves), but ALSO that each used 4 different kinds of handwriting AND that even though in just one month they each claim to have collected three times as many signatures as Mike Staples collected in a whole year but NO ONE really ever saw them, even though there should be 6000 witnesses.

      Just give ArlNow their phone numbers, Matt, and I’m sure we can clear it all up. No more protesting about what *could* have happened, Matt. Just tell us what DID happen. WHERE were Cheryl and Natasha collecting those signatures? Who can verify it? We know not Dena the campaign-manager-notary, since she was so compromised she willing to sign on June 7 that petitions “were” collected on June 19. WHO are Cheryl and Natasha, anyway? Are they longstanding community activists who feel shut out by the current voting system? Are they from Colorado? Are they criminals for hire? Are they Republican grandmother operatives? I think you don’t know, Matt. And if you don’t know, you should really stop defending them, because they are probably lying.

      • Matt W.

        Thes,
        After reading about your murderous ideations here in a public forum, I feel even more comfortable serving up people based to you! Especially based on information from a smear group formed for the purpose of intimidating voters and shouting down their opposition.

        If CAGG had a real allegation they would do a press release instead of using statistics to construct a circumstantial smear and a political hit against those they disapprove of.

        • Um

          This WAS a press release.

    • Seriously. 63 pages.

      Matt,

      I took your advice and went back to Exhibit 2, and copied this text regarding Natasha Robinson’s petitions:

      “On July 9 Ms. Robinson was managing 51 petitions:

      “She had 17 petitions started earlier than July 9 that eventually would be completed, plus 20 additional petitions started earlier that would never be completed.

      “Although she could have spent July 9 completing these forms, Ms. Robinson chose to add to her burden by starting an additional 14 petitions on this day.

      “As a result of these choices, on July 10 Ms. Robinson was managing 63 petitions.”

      So, I went to the County site that has the petitions posted, and I started scrolling through some batches. Natasha Robinson’s name (and Cheryl Simmons’s) are on a lot of them.

      Presumably CAGG went through all the petitions and matched up the dates of the voter signatures to see how many she had going on a given day.

      Apparently, the number is 63.

  • I’m guessing

    still no response from Mr. Staples? What a surprise!

    • Thes

      He managed to talk to the Sun-Gazette to complain that his personal privacy was violated. So his phone is working.

      http://www.sungazette.net/articles/2010/07/28/arlington/news/nw96b.txt

      • Can someone clarify?

        The Sun-Gazette article says the CBA people can start up a new petition at any time, but other posters on this site have said they have to wait a certain amount of time before raising the same petition again. Anyone have the details on this?

        • Cyndy

          With petitions, you can start a new one at any time. With practicality in mind, there’s no real reason why a person would have 25 partially filled petitions. You would just fill up the pages as you go, otherwise it is too hard to manage. The CBA people who were more experienced in gathering petitions all did it this way. It’s very hard to manage more than 3 clipboards. Think about it. You need to give your clipboards to people to sign and you’re normally asking 1-3 people at a time. The only way I can see having a dozen or more is if you were giving a lecture and wanted to pass out the clipboards after where you had a table set up. The CBA people didn’t have any tables at the grocery stores where I saw them. The circulator has to personally vouch for the signatures. Having all those “open” petitions is consistent with giving the pages to someone else to collect for you.

          • Can someone clarify?

            I meant a new petition drive, not a new petition form.

  • Going Backwards?

    Whoa, what’s going on? This just posted at the Registrar’s site:

    “Change-of-Government Petition Information

    “7/28/10 at 4:30 pm: 123 pages with approximately 2,214 have been disqualified because the petition circulator is not qualified to register to vote. The new unofficial final total is 10,818 names verified.

    “We are in the process removing the previously-counted names from the petition data count and will likely be finished by late Thursday, with the intent to have the final totals and return the petitions to the Clerk of the Court on Friday. We will also post the disqualified page numbers on Friday.”

    • Sleuthing

      Those numbers would suggest it was Cheryl Simmons who was disqualified. CAGG’s spreadsheets say she collected 127 pages.

  • Eric

    Non-eligibility at thi point would suggest she is a convicted felon. Oops. To think this whole thing was started by the police and fire unions. Shameful how they conducted this campaign.

    • Sleuthing

      According to the Arlington Circuit Court’s online record system, a Cheryl Simmons pled guilty to embezzlement in 2007. Not enough information to tell if it’s the same person.

      • Eric

        There is now. And it appears Matt W. and the rest of CBA and their supporters have gone silent. I don’t blame them.

  • Just the Facts

    I proposed a new drinking game: we all crack a beer and take a swig every time Matt W. posts a comment with the word “smear” in it…we’ll be wasted in no time. (Seriously, he REALLY likes to use that word!)

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