Professional Signature Collectors Come to Arlington

by ARLnow.com June 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm 2,846 44 Comments

Update on 6/6 — An insider confirms to ARLnow.com that paid signature gatherers have been supporting the change-of-government petition drive for the past several weeks. The insider says that using full-time signature gatherers is not uncommon in politics and is necessary due to the large number of signatures (14,350) required to get the issue on the ballot.

It looks like change-of-government supporters may be bringing in some hired guns to help with the daunting task of collecting more than 14,000 signatures by July 15.

According to a Craigslist ad, sent to us by an anonymous tipster, professional signature gatherers are being hired for $100 to $125 per day to “get an issue on the ballot” in Arlington County. The only Arlington ballot effort we’re aware of is the Committee for a Better Arlington‘s campaign to change the Arlington County form of government from a county manager-centric system to a system where the county board has more executive powers.

The ad was apparently posted by a Colorado-based “petition management firm,” headed by a “young political strategist” who “has managed the collection of signatures in 22 different states.”

The Committee for a Better Arlington has not responded to a request for comment on the listing.

A copy of the ad, after the jump.

make 1000 dollars in 10 days! this is a legit opportunity (Arlington County Virgina)

Date: 2010-05-28, 10:16PM EDT
Reply to: [email protected]

Signature Masters inc is looking for signature gatherers to help us get an issue on the ballot for the voters and we are paying well. there is no experience required we do have trainers on staff to teach you. if you are interested in more details, please email resumes to [email protected] please provide telephone contact information and be prepared to start right away and work a whole day with us. the only requirements are, you must be 18 years of age and a resident in arlington county.

  • Location: Arlington County Virgina
  • Compensation: 100- 125 per day
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

  • Deb

    That explains the woman who tried to get me to sign the petition yesterday in Ballston Commons Mall. She didn’t know how many board members Arlington currently has.

    • John Antonelli

      I call you on this Deb. Ballston is not one of the places we were at this weekend.

      • Deb

        Thanks so much for calling me a liar. I did not imagine it — a woman at Ballston Commons Mall stopped me on Friday afternoon and asked me to sign a petition in favor of changing the Arlington government. She began her pitch by telling me that Arlington has 4 board members.

  • John Antonelli

    Speculation is not news. How about some facts instead of assertions. It could be any one of several measures . How about the chamber of commerce related to HOT lanes or an upcoming campaign. ARLNOW can do better than that. BTW 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

  • John, I didn’t hear a denial in there. If you want to say the Committee for Better Arlington is definitely not paying signature collectors, we’re all ears.

    • John Antonelli

      Well I am part of it and this is the first I have heard of it and in fact everything I have heard is that we have the cake and just need to icing so I can see no reason why we would need them. Of course good journalism would dictate that he at LEAST interview someone from Better Arlington and that did not happen now did it. Crap journalism

      • John, how about you pick up the phone yourself and get us an answer? Or do you prefer not to know so you can keep blaming the messenger?

        • John Antonelli

          If Arlnow wants an answer Arlnow knows how to get one. I am not a professional journalist so I will leave the journalism to those who are. Bottom line, not my job mon.

          • John Antonelli

            Green mile are you Arlnow? This fella is like the Wizard of Oz. I am not hard to find and I have even been looking for the guy and my efforts in person and electronic are for nought.

  • GrayKilometers

    I didn’t know That Miles Grant was such a rabid defender of the staus quo. I knew Miles was part of the Arlington Patronage System. But I didn’t know he was so committed and beholden to it.

    • Ad hominem strikes again

      I love the ad hominem attacks that always accompany the pro-petition postings. So everyone who is opposed to the misguided (IMHO) referendum effort is beholden to the “all powerful Democrats”? As if people like Miles and the hundreds of other opponents of the referendum did not have enough brains and independence to learn about an issue like the referendum, evaluate it on its merits, and then decide it was a terrible idea for Arlington. The ad hominem attacks are a sure sign of a weak argument.

      • John Antonelli

        I didn’t know Miles Grant was posting here. SO which one are you Miles?

        • I’m hiding behind my clever pseudonym! (Wish I could read/comment on ArlNow a lot more but work’s been busy.)

  • Astroturfers

    It would also explain the young man in front of the Arl Library talking about the need to have more accountability for Arlington’s “Chief of Staff.” He claimed to be an Arlington resident but didn’t know the first thing about Arlington’s government – or even the correct title of the County Manager. This whole sham effort is driven by the disgruntled firefighters union president because they haven’t gotten everything they wanted in budget negotiations over the years. Maybe rather than try and blow up our entire form of government they need need to get a more effective negotiator…

    And now that they can’t get community support they are hiring petition collectors. Special interest astroturfing at its finest.

    Mr Antonelli, if you already have the 14k required why not release them to the registrar? And just to clarify, Mr Antonelli is saying that the people who want to change our form of government, in large part to change Arlington’s funding priorities (ie. more money for public safety), are willing to pay for signatures that they don’t even need? I’m surprised a frequent critic of county spending like Mr. Antonelli isn’t offended by this profligate waste of union dues. Or maybe it isn’t wasteful when its a Republican political priority. What a joke. It would be funny if it wasn’t so potentially damaging to Arlington.

  • John Antonelli

    Let me add if its a slow news day and you have to make up crap based on unconnected parts may I suggest you put your many talents to doing a story on how the County plans to close the Columbia Pike Library and how the neighborhood is up in arms about it?

  • John Antonelli

    Astro don’t put words in my mouth or at least get it right when you do. I never said Better Arlington was paying for signatures in fact I said they were not. BTW Better Arlington is a coalition of the police and fire unions (read labor) the Green Party and the Republicans. That broad a coalition shows a real problem in Arlington and based on the signature efforts that I have made it is quite apparent that most Arlingtonians agree. I have had no one say I decline to Sign and most were happy saying its about time. Hey Delegate Patrick Hope signed, if he bought into it, how bad can it be

    • OK, so now you ARE denying the Committee is paying for signatures? Or are you still sticking to “I’m just mad everyone knows we’re paying for them”? Astroturfers is exactly right — if a county board member was waffling this bad John would rightfully be all over them.

      • John Antonelli

        I can’t make it any clearer and Green Mile if you can’t understand it I am sorry for you. I am well involed with the group and I have heard NOTHING NOTHING about paying folks to collect signatures so if it is happening it is news to me. Everyone I have dealt with except maybe the manager (this is common the Dems do it big time) is a volunteer.

        • “I’m sick & tired of unsubstantiated allegations! And by the way I hear Dems pay for signatures but have no substance to back up that allegation!”

          • John Antonelli

            The Democrats pay for signatures?? Do tell and its spill your guts time now buddy!!!!

  • Thes

    Mike Staples has conceded that his effort has needed to resort to paid help, for lack of sufficient volunteers. Not really very surprising, considering that they won’t even let the registrar see the signatures they supposedly have. What are they hiding?

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    The elite Arlington Democrap bottom-feeders are lurking at the bottom of the barrel trying to stop the change-of-government effort at all costs. These are people that believe a fetus is nothing more than a glob of tooth decay with a heartbeat. These are people that equate homosexual sex in the human sewer system with the conception of child within the realm of a man/woman nuclear family unit and believe equal rights should be bestowed as such. These are people that call illegal aliens immigrants so they can send a myraid of taxpayer funded support to them to sustain them to the day that Obama grants them amnesty and they vote Democrat forever.

    Chris Zimmerman could not run a Dunkin Donuts. Walter Tejada could not run a Girl Scout cookie sale. Jay Fisette could not be a honorary judge at a Boy Scout pinewood derby. These Democrats, like Obama, are pure misfits and do not have a clue what is the pulse of the real America. It’s time to pull the plug on the entire Arlington County Board and the current County Manager Plan of governance and send these loons packing.

    • Justin

      This is a satire, right? Just a joke lampooning the over-the-top rhetoric of paleoconservatives. right? RIGHT?

  • Hi John,
    My name is Scott Brodbeck and I’m the editor of ARLnow.com. The “Wizard of Oz” is certainly not the image I’m going for. I’d be more than happy to talk with you about the site and my reporting methods, as I’ve gotten the chance to do with several other prominent community members. Please send me an email at arlingtonnews [at] gmail.com to set up a time. I will soon have a dedicated phone number for the site, but until that time email is the quickest method to reach me.



    • Mike


      I love the site. Keep up the good work. The Sun Gazette is a joke compared to the news you post.


      Remember this is a blog, journalistic paractices need not apply. Arlnow merely suggested the CL add might be related to BetterArlington (of which I support)

    • Matt

      I LOVE ARLNOW! You’ve done a great job keeping things relevant and current. Anotnelli’s a NIMBY curmudgeon. Now he’ll taint your site by sharing his off the cuff narrow mindedness through his self appointed position as the voice of Arlington’s citizenry. It’s a BLOG Johnny boy – get with the 21st century.

  • Skeptical

    Let me just say that as someone who has voted for the Democratic candidate in over 90% of the elections I have voted in over my lifetime — and I am kind of old — I still support placing the Change of Government motion on the ballot. I really believe Arlington is too completely owned by a machine.

    At the same time I am like many people who feel this way — far too busy trying to keep afloat to stand out in public and solicit signatures. If they need to bring in some ringers, so be it. The question is how many people are willing to sign. Only today I talked to a politically astute person who had never heard of the petition. You do what you have to.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Johnny Boy likes to see himself in print and the Sun Forgette likes to use him as the pulse of non-Democrat Arlington so they can show some sort of “balance” to whatever fray is at hand. The County Board openly broadcasts Johnny Boy as the sound of the Arlington Republicans and would open public comment to him for an hour if they could just to give him an chance to make his clown image even grander.

    Johnny Boy would be much better off advising a blog for collectors of toilet seats.

    • John Antonelli

      Johnny Boy has been retired from County Affairs for two years now. Just tired of talking to a wall read County Board members who don’t fear the electorate and have no need to as they are not going to lose their seat no matter what they do.

      • Are you really blaming Democrats for winning elections? Why doesn’t the Arlington GOP look in the mirror and wonder if campaigning against gays, abortion, the environment, etc. is what Arlington voters really want? Easier to whine than really try to win, apparently.

  • Marge

    Paid petition circulators from Colorado would explain two conversations with a young woman who worked Central Library and the Lyon Village Giant. She said she was from Denver, told me she was registered to vote in another city, called Arlington a “city,” and assured me there were no unintended consequences to the referendum question, it would only help the County Board regain their authority from the Manager. When I told her some of consequences she was totally unaware.
    A young firefighter at the Cherrydale Safeway said to me, “The next time you call 911, I hope no one comes!” Now that’s the way for the first responders to gain community support.

    • Linda

      Marge, what are some of the consequences you’re concerned about? I don’t know where I stand on the issue.

      • Marge

        The General Assembly has granted Arlington authority under our County Manager Plan of government to have stricter standards for child care programs, to train child care workers and inspect the centers with Arlington staff instead of having to rely on the state. Another authority is granted to protect and create affordable housing in Arlington for our workforce, the elderly and disabled, and a Live Where You Work program for county and school employees to help them rent or buy a home in the county. We have special authority for a Human Rights Commission and a Civil Service Commission, both of which would disappear if we change forms. We have special authority to combine our health and social services departments so they can coordinate care to their clients. Even how the county manages the Sanitary District, our water and sewer system would change under a new government plan. Go to http://www.arlingtoncoalition.org for more information. All these special authorities are attached to our current form and would be lost if we change.

        • Linda

          Thank you!

        • Mike

          All of these “special” rights were granted to Arlington from the General Assembly. How hard would it be to get them back again? Not very and in cases they aren’t even NEEDED in the first place.

          How likely is it that a county like Arlington, which elected an open homosexual would tolerate any discrimination? Losing these powers won’t make one iota of a difference and the opposition knows it. The real issue is they are afraid of being held directly accountable to the voters and being forced to make hard choices.

          One thing NOT being discussed much (and should be) is that under the new proposal elections take place en mass, instead of staggered elections. Our officials need some fear to keep them humble.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    At petition signature validation time, will ACDC Political Machine Democrat Court Clerk Paul Ferguson recuse himself over this matter that the entire ACDC Political Machine Democrats are against? As a former County Board member himself this matter would clearly appear to be a conflict of interest if he partakes in it.

    Gee, this change-with-government thing is getting better every week!

  • Decline to Sign

    Linda, http://arlingtoncoalition.org/ has a detailed discussion about the dangers of this petition. The biggest problem with it to me is that we would give up a form of government that is solely ours and become tied to three rural counties that have very different issues, priorities, and values.

    • Linda

      I didn’t know that. Thank you.

    • Mike

      That’s a load of horse poop and you know it. Arlington would not be “tied” to these districts but rather have the same form of government.

      Any changes that are allowed by the GA specific to Arlington would be granted by adding “for counties with a population over XXX”. This is done all the time by the GA.

      • Decline to Sign

        I think if we’ve all learned anything over the past ten years, it’s that counting on the General Assembly to do anything that’s in the best interests of Northern Virginia is a foolish bet.

        We have a form of government that works very, very well for us. Why would we trade it for one where we’d have to hope that we could get the things we need for the whole community?

        • Mike

          Only a fool would think our current system works very very well — or a CB member or their lackeys.

          • diane

            I am none of those things, Mike. In fact, I’m a fairly new Arlington resident, who moved here for all of the perks. The great schools, low crime, walkability, parks, public programs, recreation, etc… I’d say the current form of government has done Arlington proud and WELL!! Voted best place in the country for families by Parenting magazine- if it aint broke, don’t try to fix it!

  • In response to comments left above on June 5, the County is currently looking into the possibility of a new Columbia Pike Branch Library. No decisions have been made. Comment is being sought and a public meeting will be held at the Columbia Pike Branch on June 16. For more information: http://arlingtonvalib.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-columbia-pike-branch-share-your.html

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Hey frog licker lib, please describe how the Arlington GOP is against the environment and how your AlGore global warming fraud is based on true science.


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