Stop the Funding signatures will most likely be turned in this week. The final roundup and petition gathering will be occurring over the next couple of days (in other words, if you have sheets GET THEM TURNED IN ASAP!)
The collection process has been anything but uneventful. Co-Chair Bruce Danielson has told me along the way that approximately only 1 out of 8 or 10 refuse to sign. Most can’t wait to sign, and others usually don’t need much convincing. Bruce has always kept the argument simple, keeping politics and personal feelings for politicians out of it. He basically says that if we spend $25 million on a building we don’t need, that is $25 million over the next 20 years we won’t be spending on roads or other infrastructure. That usually convinces them to sign.
There has been road bumps along the way to the democratic process, ones you wouldn’t expect. For instance Bruce has been asked to stop taking signatures at the VFW and the VA (he was actually on the public sidewalk at the VA) he was threatened with arrest by the VA
rent-a-cops Federal Law Enforcement agents. But an interesting thing happened yesterday at the Backpack handout event. He was on the public sidewalk getting signatures (and registering people to vote) when he was accosted by a city contractor who hosts public affair shows on channel 16. Of all the people that should understand the democratic process, it should be her? Right? Well she didn’t. Bruce held his ground and said he had a 1st amendment right to be their on public property collecting signatures and wasn’t leaving. She sent out another person (we assumed a city employee) and after a picture of him was taken, he had a change of heart. He said something like, “That better not end up on the internet!” LOL. You never know.
The Argus wrote an editorial today supporting the petition drive and election (but it is not posted online yet) but it wasn’t to nice to councilor Erpenbach.
So what happens next?
Well first the petitions need to be verified using a sampling, this should only take a day or two (actually a couple of hours) there is NO reason these signatures shouldn’t be verified by Friday.
If and when the sigs are verified they need to be presented to the council. By law, they must set a special election date. Ideally, this should be before the bond sale. But the mayor can stop or delay the bond sale.
So now it is in the council’s hands. They need to call a special meeting and get it done. We will be watching and waiting.