I have spent the last day recalibrating my Nostradamusmeter, somehow it’s off several clicks because I didn’t see this coming, not with these parameters at least.
Ken Jones and Joe Cobb turned in their petition for referendum R-12-01 to the Glendale City Clerk yesterday, July 12. They managed to collect 1,568 signatures instead of the 1,862 required. While they insist that both the deadline and the number of signatures required may be subject to litigation, with that number of signatures I am baffled as to what the reason is for their turning in their petition signatures. Tactically, this is a real head scratcher. Without going into too much detail with rules and regulations, following are the reasons why.
It’s Too Late
The due date for the signatures to be turned in was July 9. Carrie Ann Sitren of the Goldwater Institute wrote a letter to the City of Glendale (CoG) on July 3 (click here) stating her case for an extended deadline, and received a response from City Attorney Tindall (click here) the same day that reiterated the July 9 deadline. No further communication that we are aware of came from Goldwater regarding the matter. Mr. Tindall, by the way, has been characterized by Mr. Jones as “Trickier than a big tent full of clams.” (click here)
We have it on good authority (this is the FIRST time I’m quoting-ish an anonymous source out of respect for that source) that Ms. Sitren had wanted Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb to turn in their signatures on July 9, in fact there were Goldwater emissaries (one of whom may be Spiderman) at Mr. Jones’ library table after his brief press conference on that day. One of them was overheard to say to Mr. Jones “It’s over.” Why did Ms. Sitren feel they might as well turn in the signatures? She was, apparently, aware of some or all of the flaws in the petition that were outlined in the Glendale First! press release (click here).
If Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb choose to litigate further, they will have (I believe) five days from the date the petition is rejected by the City of Glendale to file their complaint. Assuming their date math has improved over the past month or so, that means that this should all be done within five to ten days after CoG rejects the petition. From all appearances, at this point Goldwater has washed their hands of Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb, so they would probably have to find other representation, racking up further legal bills on top of what they already owe for their loss to CoG while represented by Ms. Sitren.
It’s Not Enough
Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb are also claiming that they need only 1,131 signatures versus the 1,862 that CoG says are required. Their argument is based on using a 2010 election instead of a 2008 election as the base number for the requirement. Since they have turned in 1,568, they are of the opinion that they have more than the required number of signatures. They have also threatened to litigate this, although their claim appears to be completely without merit.
Even if we assume that the lower number was used, the reality of signatures on petitions is that a fairly high percentage of them will be invalid for one reason or the other. While CoG is only allowed to verify five percent of the signatures, we have been assured that, if CoG releases the petition to the County for further verification, Glendale First! would check all 1,568 signatures for validity as well as circulators and all the other factors that need to be verified before a signature sheet can be considered valid. The likelihood of even 1,131 signature being valid is EXTREMELY low, even if there were not the other fatal flaws outlined in the Glendale First! press release.
It’s Just Wrong
The truth of the matter is that Goldwater, Ken Jones, Joe Cobb, Glendale First!, and the City of Glendale are ALL aware that the petition for referendum has several fatal flaws that will prevent it from proceeding, regardless of the disputed number of signatures or the disputed deadline date. So, if ALL parties involved know that R-12-01 is going nowhere, why go through a charade of threatening to or even filing a lawsuit?
The only POSSIBLE motive if Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb file anything in any court to dispute either the number of signatures or the deadline date would be to potentially delay the finalization of the sale of the Coyotes. There is no other possible explanation. If they are represented by Goldwater, they will be directly implicit in attempting to interfere with a business transaction that has already been duly approved by a goverment entity.
I’m not sure if that would be illegal, but it certainly should be. I’d also be concerned, if I was Mr. Jones or Mr. Cobb, that the frivolous suit they have said they are considering could have serious ramifications to them, and would potentially open them up to some big court costs and further civil litigation.
The ball is in their court.
Keep the faith, Coyotes brothers and sisters, looks like we have our team AND our Captain for the foreseeable future. See you at the rink!