73°Mostly Cloudy

Change-of-Government Margin of Error: 2,082 Signatures

by ARLnow.com July 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm 3,241 66 Comments

Change-of-government supporters collected 2,082 more signatures than necessary to get the measure on the November ballot, according to a rough count by Arlington elections personnel.

Officials counted a total of 16,432 signatures on the 761 petition sheets submitted before yesterday’s 4:00 p.m. deadline. The 57 sheets submitted yesterday contained 950 names, officials said.

Specially-trained staffers have begun the process of matching up the names and addresses on petition sheets to individuals on the county’s voter registration rolls. So far, about 3,100 names have been validated, according to county registrar Linda Lindberg.

Lindberg said she did not have a count of how many names have been rejected so far, but she did say that there have been a number of instances of people signing the petition more than once (an electronic system helps keep track of each recorded name and address).

It’s not clear how many extra signatures will be necessary to clear the 14,350 mark needed to get the change-of-government referendum on the November ballot. The 2,082 extra names give supporters a 12.7 percent buffer. There’s no comparable data from 1993, when Arlington had its last referendum effort.

  • John

    I give this very little chance of making the ballot at this point. A rule of thumb on petitions is that 25-33% of signatures will be rejected once address matching / registration, duplicates and other challenges are invoked. I suggest that the Better Arlington People could have done better had they actually had more friendly petition gatherers and some issue people actually gave a damn about.

    • JR

      ah – have you been following the comment section on this blog??? A lot of people care about this issue. the current structure allows the board is to be completely dominated by a party machine with little accountability to people outside the party structure.

      • ACDC Hack

        JR, what planet do you live on? Do you honestly think the Democrats aren’t equally capable of sweeping and holding power in a district-based election system? Do you think ACDC doesn’t have scores of active, loyal, experienced Dems wouldn’t relish the chance to run in a district if this passes? Um, who do you think is going to draw the districts?

        Arlington is a county that voted over 70 percent for Obama and over 75 percent for Mark Warner in 2008. Even Creigh Deeds got close to 70 percent. The County Board members often get elected with closer to 80 percent of the vote. Criticize ACDC all you want but when you go after the Democratic Party generally, you are criticizing Arlington’s voters, their politics, and their choices.

        I assure you they will have the last word. Not the malcontents and gadflys who post on this board. Be careful what you wish for, good sir.

        • Mike

          At least Thes spelled his name correctly this time. It’s a long stretch to equate criticising the Democrats to criticizing Arlington voters. Only an ACDC hack would make such an argument. The ACDC hacks like to claim how smart Arlingtonians are by sending any simpleton with a (d) next to their name, but when it comes to reading a simple ballot initiative all of a sudden the peepul are too shtoopid to be trusted to make the right choice. Now get back to work boy, Zimmies water bottle needs filling.

          • ACDC Hack

            Given that you think everyone who disagrees with your driveling diatribes is an ACDC hack, I chose my moniker just for you, Mike. Thanks for taking the bait yet again. By the way, I’m still waiting for the day you can make a substantive argument without resorting to name calling. It’s gonna be awhile, huh?

          • JR

            ACDC Hack – your side is the only one that consistently has failed to provide one single reason to oppose the change of government. (except change is bad – which sounds like a conservative argument to me) I don’t doubt that democrats will continue to win elections in Arlington – but i would hope that my district board member would at least care about the concerns of his/her constituents. The current board doesn’t care, and doesn’t have to care because of the political demographics you provide. i’ve lived in Arlington for 11 years – and have never had a board member respond to a single question or inquiry. they are tone deaf – and the current system allows them to be so.

          • Mike

            Oh wow, you sure fooled me. I’ve addressed any and every item you and the rest of the ACDC hacks have regarding the COG already.

            You come back with the same strawman argument that Republicans can’t put up decent candidates. And a bear poops in the woods. What has that got to do with direct representation? You and your ilk only care about party politics and power and keeping it. Hey, if that’s your agenda be proud of it.

            I’ve said over and over (and over) that I could care less about the GOP, Greens, Gays, God or Gingrich. Your political positions don’t interest me in the slightest.

            I care about library hours, pot-holes, street-lamps, schools and all the other related sundries that are something called CORE SERVICES, and the efficacy of their delivery. Something the COG will give a slight boost towards improving.

            The hubris of the CB is beyond belief. When was the last time have you heard anyone mention “The Arlington Way” and wasn’t used as a pejorative?

          • ACDC Hack

            Mike, if you really care about core services and all those things, you should pay close attention to the County Attorney’s memo, which details in great length how many of Arlington’s powers to address some of the very things you purport to be concerned about will be stricken from the code if the COG proposal is enacted. I don’t see Arlington doing well running to Russell and Grayson counties to get permission to do the things we already do and won’t be able to under their form of government. Nor do I see Arlington winning in a General Assembly that will have to provide a 2/3 vote for sole authority. I’ve never heard you address that issue credibly.

          • Mike

            FYI, we don’t have to go to other counties to get “permission” but rather those powers may be granted under the auspices of the General Assembly.

            Not one of those “powers” means squat towards core services. Not ONE. Even ignoring core services, NONE of them have any practical application in Arlington.

            If only Arlington streets were as flat as your arugments.

          • ACDC Hack

            Mike, you are just completely wrong on the facts here. In order to add powers to the portion of the code dealing with the County Board form of government, Russell, Grayson, Scott, and Carroll do have to agree. If not, it takes a 2/3 vote of the general assembly to single out Arlington. Do you really don’t understand, do you?

            Go do some research, talk to some GA members, or any municipal lawyer, and get back to me. I await your enlightenment.

            And if you think affordable housing, health care, schools, and taxing authority are not core issues–all would be impacted–then I really can’t help you at all. You exist on a different planet.

          • Thes

            Looks like I missed quite a discussion! ACDC Hack is not my sockpuppet. And I disagree with ACDC Hack that the Democrats are “equally capable” of holding the School Board and County Board seats after districts. It will in fact be easier for Democrats to win elections in districts, because the Democrats will be the ones drawing the districts. Computers are very good at helping with that, nowadays.

          • Mike

            We are in violent agreement. Democrats would win every seat even in districts. Fine, so what?

            But with districts you can be damned sure that proposals won’t get rammed down a neighborhoods throat with the current farce process the CB follows. Ask Columbia Pike, Chain Bridge, EFC, Cherrydale.

            If you proposed this at-large board form in any other jurisdiction in the county you would be laughed at. People like having a representative to address their issues.

    • ArlingtonAaron

      In the second batch PDF there are 172 Registered voters out of 235 signatures… that’s a 27% error rate, which is about exactly what you’d expect at this stage of the process… and you’d expect that rate to creep slowly higher as more and more duplicate signatures get tossed out of each batch as more names enter the database.

      • ArlingtonAaron

        Batch 1’s rejection rate is a bit lower at 18% but still way above where it would have to be.

      • Mike

        So where are you getting this numbers from AA?

  • Efrem

    I wouldn’t give in just yet. This is exactly what the ACDC public smear department will dump on the media this evening and over the weekend (with the ACDC front group CAGG leading the charge).

    How accurate is the 2,002 threshold? Did Paul Ferguson make this number up over a 23 pancake breakfast for Chris Zimmerlocks at IHOP this morning?

    Sounds like another ACDC setup to me and ACDC prepared talking points for Scott Mceffortless to run in the Sun Forgette next week.

    What the ACDC doesn’t understand is that if by chance this COG petition effort does fail, they will succeed next time around.

    Why? Because the ACDC still will not get the message that Arlington is out of step with the rest of America. The current County Board, aligned with the progressive Democrat Obama regime, is nothing but a cadre of elitist progressive misfits that couldn’t find their way out of a carbon-neutral hemp grocery bag.

    • Union Man

      I’ll just say this: if the police and fire fighters don’t succeed in getting this on the ballot after spending more than $40,000 of union money (mostly on paid petition gatherers), somebody should be fired. How much more union dues are they willing to spend to blow up what is nationally regarded as one of the most progressive and well run governments in the nation? I wonder how many of their own members actually approve of this expenditure?

      • Union Woman

        Union Man, you know this was never about what was good for the unions–only ever about one man’s foolish pride. That’s the problem with unions these days–in some cases, they’re as abusive to their members as the people they claim to protect them from.

        • Union Man

          I’ll come right out and say it. The ringleader of this scam, and you know who he is, should be fired for misappropriation of union dues and poor political judgment. I hope the membership sees to it when this fails.

          • Union Woman

            He absolutely should be fired.

            Other comments have said it, and I’ll say it, too: Why ANY union thinks more Republicans in office would be good for their members is simply beyond comprehension.

          • MB

            FWIW – and I realize this is asking for a bit of dirty laundry to be aired, when it may not be particularly helpful – I think a lot of us would appreciate a post-mortem from the inside perspective, after this is done.

  • Not So

    JR. What makes you think that if this makes the ballot and passes that the Board won’t still be dominated by Dems? This is a democratic county and will continue to be so. This dumb idea is all because the ACFD was apparently not allowed to talk to the County Board directly…I highly doubt that.

    • Efrem

      This measure is much more than being dominated by Democrats.

      It’s about having an elected body that is accountable to those that elect them.

      This is what the ACDC doesn’t get. There is a myriad of Democrats in Arlington that want nothing to do with the ACDC. There is a myriad of potential Democrat candidates that are eager to run for the Arlington County Board of Supervisors in districts but currently have no chance of being elected to the Arlington County Board because they didn’t sign-up for ACDC kiss-our-butts and subscribe-to-our-dictate boot camp.

      The ACDC is currenly in a major cluster flux. There are good folks in their ranks that no lomger want anything to do with them. There is a mini-revolution going on in Democrat ranks but the ACDC hierarchy is too blind with self-glorification to see it.

      • ACDC Hack

        In a smart, educated community on the border of the nation’s capital there are many people who would like to run for office if they could. And yes, given that the GOP can’t find candidates to field (because no one in Arlington supports the right-wing agenda of their leadership), it’s a one party game.

        But you know what? Every year ACDC holds primaries, but for some reason there are rarely challengers except when there’s an open seat. I just find it amusing that an outsider like yourself who, based on your past posts, is not involved in the Democratic Party and may not even live in Arlington claims to know so much about the party. How is that?

        The people who get elected in Arlington are people who have put in the time through civic and/or party involvement. That’s how it should be. And to the extent others have the ability to build the organization to win an election they too are rewarded with the support of the voters. It’s really pretty simple. Lots of people have done it. We seem to have an election every year.

        Hard to see your comments, frankly, as anything other than sour grapes and wishful thinking by an Anti-Democratic Party partisan.

        • Efrem

          If good folks like Arlington NAACP president Elmer Lowe Sr. and Christian Dorsey were elected to the newly established Arlington County Board of Supervisors they’d force the ACDC to change and take control away from elitist snob-nosed progressives whose only form of personal charity is the taxpayer dollars they funnel to the ignorant Democrat sheeple that slop at the taxpayers trough that funds sewer art and public dog excrement parks.

      • Grammar Police

        It’s “there are myriad Democrats,” Efrem.

    • Mike

      90% correct. The real reason this will make a difference is that board members will be forced to take a position on controversial issues and be DIRECTLY accountable to their district. Ask any neighborhood that has recently dealt with the CB if they felt they were treated in a conscionable manner. You won’t get ONE yea vote, even from people that got what they wanted.


    • JR

      I did not say that Dems wouldn’t continue to win. Democrats winning elections and elections being dominated by the party machine are very different. I don’t doubt that democrats will continue to win elections in Arlington – but i would hope that my district board member would at least care about the concerns of his/her constituents (vs just the political machine). The current board doesn’t care, and doesn’t have to care because of the political demographics and structure of the political system.

    • 4Arl

      Not So- see http://www.betterarlington.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/County-Board-Protocol.pdf

      One important change would be that all board members would stand for election at the same time. Is there any other way to change the current at-large system to make all candidates run against each other, like Alexandria’s council elections?

  • Efrem

    Ask Arlington NAACP president Elmer Lowe Sr. if he’d run in a district to become a member of the newly established Arlington County Board of Supervisors.

    Ask Christian Dorsey if he’d run in a district to become a member of the newly established Arlington County Board of Supervisors.


  • Charles Foster Kane

    Ummm . . . I just ran “16,432 – 14,350” on my Cray and got “2,082” — not “2,002” . . .

    • Glad someone is checking our math around here. It was a long week…

      The numbers have been updated.

  • John

    I’ve asked very specific questions here and elsewhere of pro-cog folks. Yet I get zero information. The league of womens voters sent in a questionnaire and they got no reply.
    I’ll ask again:
    -which powers will the county board lose with legislative work in Richmond
    -which elements of the existing county code will be subject to additional judicial review after a successful cog?
    -will arlinton still be able to regulate it’s daycares to our own additional inspections or will we be dependent on state inspectors?
    -will the county lose the ability to establish special tax districts such as those in place to fund Columbia pike inprovements
    -will the human rights commission retain investigative powers and legal authority?
    -given the tax collection authority diminishes under the proposed form how do you plan to fund the schools, police and firefighters.

    Please provide the donor list for better Arlington and the amounts given.

  • Chris

    Remember all the over time and how hard it was going to be to get everything verified and counted in time for the August deadline? According to the county website they have already verified over 4000 signatures, and it only took them a day and a half.

    • Anon

      And if Aaron’s stats hold up that means they threw out just under 1000 names already. This will be interesting.

      • Great Expectations

        Those estimates were based on the wildly fantastical lies being told by the COG people about how many signatures they supposedly already had months ago. If they’d known the COG people would fail so colossally to get the signatures they needed, they never would have been concerned!

  • Efrem

    If the COG passes and the Arlington County Board is sent to the ash heap of progressive Democrat maleficence, the new Arlington County Board of Supervisors will be forced by Virginia Code 987-13.5 to fund a Cooperative Extension Service that requires that all open space in now rural Arlington County (including dog parks and child day care centers) be coverted to livestock waste disposal areas free of the federal Clean Air, Water and Civil Right’s Acts.

    • ACDC Hack

      Actually, Efrem, if it passes Arlington will have to fund a cooperative extension service that it doesn’t need. It’s in the statute. The rest of your post, of course, is nonsense. Here’s what the code actually says:

      § 15.2-413. Department of extension and continuing education. – The department of extension and continuing education shall be established for the purpose of conducting noncredit educational programs and disseminating useful and practical information pursuant to the provisions of § 23-132.1 et seq.


      But there’s more. If this passes, we’d have to restructure our health department and Governor McDonnell gets to choose who runs it:

      § 15.2-411. County health officer; county board of health. – The county health officer shall be chosen by the board of county supervisors from a list of eligibles furnished by the State Board of Health.

      Sometimes satire hit a little too close to the truth, eh Efram?

      • Efrem

        You ACDC misfits just keep on showing how dunce you are.

        Re:”………………..we’d have to restructure our health department and Governor McDonnell gets to choose who runs it”

        § 15.2-411. County health officer; county board of health. – The county health officer shall be chosen by the board of county supervisors from a list of eligibles furnished by the State Board of Health.

        Sometimes stupidity hits a a little too close to idiocity, eh ACDC?

        • ACDC Hack

          I’m not sure what your problem is. I quoted the statute verbatim. It says what it says. I don’t want the board to have to pick from a list (how many?) of GOP donor candidates proposed by McDonnell. And yeah, actually, the way the county is currently structured we do not have a “Health Department” outside of the Department of Human Services. We would have to restructure DHS at considerable cost. Facts are stubborn things, Efram.

      • Matt

        Jay Fisette just asked Virginia Tech to keep the existing extension office open to continue to serve the community. You should at lease do a google search before trying to mislead the community.

  • John

    The county is only 26 miles square. You mention a failure to tend to the concerns of residents near EFC, Columbia Pike and Cherrydale, and yet we see democratic party candidates receiving 70+% of the vote. If such incredible disatisfaction exists in these neighborhoods surely someone could make a credible dent in the votes there, or we’d at least see reduced turnout. Yet the math doesn’t work.
    Those who want library hours to remain open and other core services should understand that this legislation will eliminate many of the fees and taxes Arlington assesses to pay for the costs of those services. The result will be that in the short term many things will have to be cut. The county will also have to suffer through and endless series of Dylan Rule lawsuits related to local ordinances. The result will further drain our treasury.

    • Sisyphean Task

      You’re absolutely right, but it’s not worth trying to have an honest discussion with the COG people, John. No matter how many concrete examples you give of the negative consequences this change would have, they will just say you haven’t given them a single reason.

      • JR

        please, please. name one reason to oppose this except “change is bad”!!

        • ACDC Hack

          Dude, are you reading this whole thread? John and I cited a bunch of examples. Did you read the County Attorney’s memo? Have you been to CAGG’s website? http://arlingtoncoalition.org/ You may disagree with the examples, but you can’t possibly say that people haven’t given you some.

        • Sisyphean Task

          I’d like to thank JR for making my point for me.

    • MB

      Man. Just think about how much better off Virginia would be if we had a Dylan Rule. Unfortunately, we have the Dillon Rule.

      • Efrem

        Arlington needs the Dylan Rule.

        Times are a changing!

    • Efrem

      Re: “You mention a failure to tend to the concerns of residents near EFC, Columbia Pike and Cherrydale, and yet we see democratic party candidates receiving 70+% of the vote.”

      Let’s imagine for a moment that the COG is approved and we have 5 districts in Arlington, three of which were EFC, Columbia Pike and Cherrydale.

      Let’s imagine a Democrat primary for each Board of Supervisor slot.

      What concerns/issues do you think would be discussed at each primary? Global warming abatement, gay marriage, the new Reagan statue at Reagan Airport, the Arizona immigration law and whether to melt a beam from the World Trade Center so Arlington pacifists are not offened?

      Would residents of the EFC district be concerned with the above, all major concerns of the current County Board?

      I’d imagine you’d find plenty of Democrats in EFC coming out of the woodwork eager to run on tangible issues THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO EFC DISTRICT RESIDENTS. Plus, those elected on the issues WOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY DISTRICT RESIDENTS TO REPRESENT THEM NOT THE ACDC.

      This is what the ACDC fears the most about the COG effort. If they lose the current at-large system they lose their large brain-dead robotic support system that keeps their current cadre of robotic brain-dead County Board members in power.

      • JenniferJ

        I don’t support this approach, and I live in a neighborhood where I haven’t always gotten everything I wanted from the County. I also care about our budget, our schools (though I don’t have kids) and transportation and a host of other issues that can’t be managed parochially and have nothing to do with just ‘my neighborhood.’

        I watch my neighbor infighting over things like speed hump placement and who can use the park, and I would never, ever want a County Board member to be chosen on those kinds of issues. I fear that districts would make those fights even more important — do your kids go to the right school? Do you support some weird dog park regulation? Are you opposing or supporting a new restaurant down the block?

        Neighborhoods and civic associations are a lot like little districts, and while a lot of good can get done at that level, it’s also cliquish, sometimes petty and often focused on very small issues.

        I don’t want our billion dollar budget managed by the people who fought hardest on which NC project should get first priority or some other short-term issue, but know nothing about state legislative issues, long-term capital planning or our relationship with federal agencies and homeland security. Or transportation, planning, the environment, economic development, affordable housing, parks and recreation, schools….

        Arlington is regarded as one of the absolute best places to live in the Metro region, and not because we elect people based on their position on outdoor seating.

      • John F

        Efrem your imagined districts don’t account for the population of voters in Arlington. Neighborhoods may find themselves split in twain in order to make the boudaries come out with an even population grouping. Columbia pike would be split between many reps 2-4 by my analysis. Again I’ll remind folks that Arlington is tiny. My experience has been that board member know local issues and are fairly responsive just look at the hours spent on the patio seating issue noted above. This has always been about police and firefighters unions wanting to negotiate directly wih the board and republicans wanting to obliterate many of Arlington’s progressive government infrastructure. If there was such a groundswell for this change you’d think they could have come up with more that 50k dollars in donations. Heck 10k dollars from individuals giving 250 bucks is only 40 people. There are 300 people in the facebocok group despite this being one of the most wired places on earth.

  • Dan

    You must not have been at the last county board meeting where the size and positioning of a few outdoor tables consumed the better part of an hour !!

  • Efrem

    Jennifer J:

    You sound like a very poor Democrat candidiate for your district Board of Supervisor position. I am sure you have many neighbors, perhaps fellow Democrats, that disagree with your worldly vision of local issues that would enjoy running and representing you on the Arlington County Board of Supervisors.

    Arlington is regarded as one of the absolute best places to live in the Metro region by elitist self-absorbed progressive Democrats that can afford to eat every meal at places where their outdoor seating arrangement is determined by the current out of touch County Board.

    There’s many folks in Arlington that can’t afford to eat at such places due to the taxpayer burden and wasteful spending placed on them by the current County Board.

    These are the folks that wnat the COG to prevail.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Current update on the count…

    So far, the Registrar has posted on the Web 7 batches of completely reviewed petitions (each batch has 20 pages).

    The 7 batches total 1,445 signatures (9% of the total submitted).

    1,168 are valid; 277 were rejected (19%).

    If you extrapolate these results over the entire submission, the CoG effort would come up 1,068 signatures short of the required 14,350.

    No way of knowing whether these 7 posted batches are indicative of the entire submission or not.

    • Efrem

      Mr. Kubicki:

      There’s a growing cadre of folks here in Arlington, from all parties, that would welcome you running for the Arlington County Board of Supervisors in the district where your reside.

      The ACDC and Arlington County Board know that you know your stuff and are always accurate with whatever thesis you present before them. In essence, you scare the hell out of them.

      Go for it. Your time has come. You’ve paid your dues.

    • Anthony

      Looks like they are short about 2,500 valid signatures. It’s over.

  • Efrem

    Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit


  • ArlingtonAaron

    batch 8 19% rejected
    batch 9 14% rejected

    No individual batch seems to have come at a high enough percentage to get to the minimum. Further, the referendum page at the Registrar’s office indicates that the 8000 signatures counted so far could be the easy ones, that were legible without additional levels of scrutiny. I can’t imagine that there’s a reason that much much lower error rate batches are waiting in the wings somewhere.

    I’m done counting… this is over. I’d be surprised if even 11000 valid signatures were actually collected. Nothing left now but the post mortems.

  • Not Impressed

    Another awesome note from a scan of the petition pages: How many of the signature collectors aren’t registered to vote! Clearly these are people with a serious interest in their community!


Subscribe to our mailing list