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Signature-Gathering Enters Homestretch for Change-of-Government Proponents

by ARLnow.com July 12, 2010 at 3:17 pm 1,737 22 Comments

Thursday is the deadline for change-of-government supporters to submit 14,350 signatures to the county registrar in order to get a referendum on the November ballot. According one of the contract signature collectors hired by the Committee for a Better Arlington, which wants to change Arlington’s form of county government, they have already exceeded that number.

Speaking to ARLnow.com at the Columbia Pike Farmers Market Sunday afternoon, signature collector Robert Farrell said they’ve collected about 15,000 signatures already and are trying to collect about 2,000 more by the deadline as a “cushion” to make up for signatures that might be disqualified by the registrar (due to duplicate signatures or an out-of-county address).

Officially, the Committee has declined to discuss the exact progress of its signature-gathering effort, except to express confidence that it will be successful.

Signature collectors have had to put in “a lot of legwork” and overcome a number of challenges, Ferrell said. He cited demonstrators who show up at events with “decline to sign” signs from the anti-referendum Coalition for Arlington Good Government. The sign holders are generally respectful, Ferrell said, although he has encountered “hostility” from about one in every 1,000 people he approaches.

Meanwhile, the number of places where Committee contractors and volunteers are allowed to gather signatures has become a bit more limited. The Committee used to rely heavily on collecting signatures outside Giant and Safeway stores. Ferrell said he was told a week ago that they were no longer welcome outside the stores due to unspecified complaints.

Ferrell, a self-described native Arlingtonian who returned from living elsewhere to help the petition effort, said that means he will just have to “keep on trucking” at another high-traffic location.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    Here are some new career paths for the County Board members once they are booted out of office:

    Chris Zimmerman – Toll Collector, New Jersey Turnpike
    Mary Hynes – Birkenstock Foot Model, L.L. Bean
    (rest of comment deleted – Ed.)

  • charlie

    It is statiscally impossible.

  • Mike

    Adios at-large board.

  • JR

    how awesome it will be to have a county board member actually accountable to my neighborhood. i’m so excited… i just can’t imagine anyone except the Party Bosses and Machine being opposed to this.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    The ACDC is in a major cluster flux and stage of denial this evening. They thought they could blow off the change-of-governemt measure and ignore the sheeple that they’ve used and abused for years.

    The “Decline to Sign” stunt was the last straw for many Arlington folks and backfired on the Marxists over at CAGG. All it did was to entice more folks to sign the petition.

    The Arlington County Board is a regime, just like the Obama administration and they are both heading to the ash heap of progressive failures.

    Stay vigilent the Committe for Better Arlington, don’t forget that Paul Ferguson is a former Democrat County Board member and ACDC hack, no now he’s in charge of the referendum validation process…………………don’t underestimate anything!

  • Dan

    One can only hope—remember that this will only get it on the ballot.
    Sure would be nice to have a chance to vote on this though.

    Who knows—democracy with a small d, might actually return to Arlington.

  • I’m opposed for a number of reasons.

    I like the at-large seats, as it discourages the NIMBYism I see play out in Ward-style (or Virginia Supervisor) systems. Now, all Board Members are encouraged to look out for the entire County, balancing the interest of all. In Supervisor/Ward systems, in practice, the rest of the Board usually defers to whatever the local Supervisor wants, and so no debate or balancing happens.

    If the concern is that the Board is usually all-Democratic, the better solution might be to have all the Board be elected every term (maybe 2 years?) and then let the top 5 vote-getters win, rather than having an all-or-nothing election per seat each time.

    Aside from the at-large issue, Arlington is at risk of losing hundreds of special legislative exceptions it’s fought strenuously for for a hundred years from the General Assembly, almost all of which target the County by stating they only apply to localities “with the County Manager form of government.” Changing the form of government for Arlington would make inapplicable all of these exceptions.

    • Mike

      And the best the ACDC hacks can come up with is daycare director education mandates. What a joke

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    “Now, all Board Members are encouraged to look out for the entire County, balancing the interest of all”

    Wow, this is classic.

    This is what really exists under the current regime:

    Now, all Board Members are encouraged to look out for just part of the County, balancing the special interests of a few to get elected.

    • JoshS

      Do you even try to make sense? If someone is elected from one part of the County, that is the part they will look out for, no where else.

      I’m actually hoping this does get on the ballot. Because in November, when about 70% of the County votes against it, you’ll realize once and for all that you are in the small minority of voters.

      • Mike

        LOL. The ACDC losers kept boldly predicting this wouldn’t even make the ballot. I’m sure their prognasticating will go 0 for 2.

        • JoshS

          I don’t belong to the ACDC. But with the lies and distortions being tossed around, I’m going to give heavily to them to make sure you and your ilk decisively get your butts kicked in November if this does get on the ballot.

          With the firemans union whining about not getting bigger raises and the republicans opening up their wallets, you’d be a laughingstock if you didn’t get it on the ballot. But you will lose, and lose big. And then the issue will be settled permanently.

          • Mike

            The only thing permanent is what a joke you are.

            If the initiative doesn’t pass it can be brought up again next year in the form of a different government, like the County Executive form.

            And I hope the ACDC apperciates your stealing from the barrista tip jar.

      • MB

        I think you’re overestimating”Efrem” and Mike. They’ve not demonstrated much in the way of critical thinking skills, and I’m sure that a 70% defeat will just be further evidence of a liberal socialist marxist plot to . . . something. It doesn’t matter. But when you’re impotent with rage, I’m sure it makes sense.

        In the end, the big losers here are going to be the police and fire unions. What a waste of time, energy, and reputation. Given the signature campaign they’ve supported, I certainly won’t be inclined to take them at their word, in the future.

        • Mike

          Admittedly the Unions, Greens and Republicans sure make for strange bedfellows. The political parties have similar goals (to be able to concentrate on a district) while the unions want better access to officials and thus funding.

          I could give two farts about any of those “wants” above. Most people signing (and voting) for this change want the ability to have a representative to call their own — someone they can call and deal with instead of the gang-of-five.

          COG Proponents are itching to vote for this. The average voter??? In an election year where the Democrats are taking a poundning, the polls will be depressed. The only way voters will turn out if Moron goes on live TV and beats his wife, chokes a black kid and says “The Jews killed Jesus”. The sad thing is he will still probably win.

          Don’t count on the ACDC’s sample ballot doing any good. When people read the text in the voting booth they will say “that’s a great idea” and press YES.

  • Observer

    It remains to be seen if this is certified. If it is, and the proponents finally have to answer the questions that have been raised from all of Arlington’s civic leaders, they will be have a tough time. Remember, 14,000 signatures (many of which will not actually vote for this) is a drop in the bucket in a general election against an ACDC sample ballot and the collective opposition of every major civic group in the county.

    If you get it on the ballot, congratulations. But don’t get too smug. Arlington’s thoughtful voters, the ones who reelect the current board with 60-70 percent of the vote will rise and kick your ass. You don’t have a chance.

    • Mike

      Typical ACDC arrogance. WHEN this is certified — and the only reason it wouldn’t be is because Paul Ferguson is perhaps dumb enough to try and tamper with the verification.

      And the proponents don’t have to answer not one damned question any “civic leader” has posed. It is the the voters who will decide.

      And as for kicking ass, what are you wussies gonna do? Send an old man after me with a shopping cart?

  • John Fontaine

    I’ve spent an extensive amount of time researching this in a non-partisan way. I’ve been open to the arguments of both sides. After extensive research I can tell you that this proposal is wholey without merit and would be a huge setback for Arlington. Voting this in would place Richmond in control of housing, daycares, healthcare. We’d lose our authority to create local improvement districts. The police and firefighters would be gutted along with other public services as the county struggled to make up for a significant loss of revenue resulting from the loss of specific taxation authority. The human rights commission would lose its powers to investigate discrimination in housing and services. Furthermore nothing would change. Favola received 80+ of the vote in many S. Arlington Districts in the last election. Every member of the county board could run in any ward based district and command 60+% of the vote. If this makes the ballot it gets 15% of the vote at most, and will go down in flames.

  • Efrem Hornbostle

    The members of the new Arlington County Board of Supervisors would be held accountable to the people in the particular district they were elected to serve. They’d lookout for potholes, pole breaks, fire response times, old folks etc. and would be expected to govern.

    The current members of the Arlington County Board are not held accountable to the people because they serve the interests of the ACDC first and foremost. That is why they lookout for street side seating arrangements, gay art, global warming derived from dog gas and the number of steps it takes someone the size of Chris Zimmerman to walk to a donut shop during breaks in community meetings meant to regulate trans fat.

  • charlie

    Get off the district representation horse.
    a district board will include four districts and one at-large.
    each district will include 50,000 people (1/4 our 200,000 population).
    do you know how big 50,000 is? Everything east of I-395 is not even 50,000 people.
    your representation will not change. quit tokin what you are smokin.

    • Mike

      The only Token is Tejada

  • Darwin

    Only Democrats would actively fight to prevent the right for people to actually vote on the issue!!!
    This petition does NOT change the law, it just allows the people to decide! If it is really a bad idea it will fail in November PERIOD!

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