December 1, 2012,
Here we are four days after the arena lease agreement between the City of Glendale and Hockey Partners was voted “in”. As predicted way back in “Watch Your Six – Part III“, there will be petitions circulated to obtain a referendum to kill the arena lease deal. Since my Nostradamicator was fully functional back then I even managed to put the pictures of the two people, Ken Jones and Francine Romesburg, that are behind the petition on the page. I know I, for one, am impressed with my ability to parlay my now six month old project supporting my hockey team into a stellar prognostication record. Now, if there was only money in that game…
I admit I was surprised at the level of panic the “pulling of papers” caused among savvy Coyotes people and the corresponding amount of joy from the doltish opposition. There should have been ZERO surprise that it happened and even less at the source of the complaint. Yet, speculation on the number of signatures required and every other facet of the process ran rampant and, in my somewhat educated at least in matters such as this opinion, needlessly. It’s almost unfortunate that Ken and Joe didn’t get further in their parking lot project so that the number of signatures question would have been more emblazoned in some brains.
I also didn’t predict how many people would forget how difficult it was for the Prop 457 people to get their required number of signatures using paid circulators BEFORE people were sick of the electoral process. I’m surprised at how many people forgot the record of success we have, as “thugs” in keeping our team and our Captain right where they belong. It seems that every victory brings more skepticism instead of confidence, the complete opposite of what one would expect if analyzing the dynamics of this long process.
So either my Nostradamicator is more wonky than I thought or it’s just impossible to convince some people. Who knows?
One of the casualties of the filing was the Twitter account of @RottenGlendale (RG), a prolific anti-Coyotes troll responsible for countless bad predictions (many more than the Coyotes Nostradamus ME) for some time. After a tearful farewell to her followers, she deleted her account. While her account is still searchable online via means other than Twitter it is, for all intents and purposes, defunct.
Before deleting the account, however, RG was tweeting away about what would happen if the lease agreement was approved. Beyond simply stating that petitions would be gathered, she went so far as to imply a huge amount of money would be available to support the cause. We covered part of that in “Watch Your Six – Decision Time“, posted the day of the City Council meeting. In that blog post, we detailed the statement regarding “Mr. Kimmerle” and the implication that the owner of Sanderson Ford would be writing checks for this effort as well as for the failed Prop 457 effort. We have no idea whether that is true or not.
RG was also soliciting funds and/or assistance from the Glendale Fire Department and the Glendale Police Department (@AZGLEA) as well, exchanging tweets with @GlendaleFire493 (GF493). The GF493 Twitter account is run, we believe, by the head of the Glendale FIrefighters Union, Joe Hester. A letter is mentioned in the tweets, as is the destination for the letter. We have not yet seen this letter, although a public records request has been filed to obtain it. We’re not sure if there actually was even a letter sent, of course, although the Twitter exchange on November 29 is convincing:
RG: @GlendaleFire493 @AZGLEA Hopefully you will want to help referendum against the bad Coyotes deal before it ends up costing jobs!
RG: @GlendaleFire493 @AZGLEA You don’t have to wait for the letter to support the referendum
GF493: @RottenGlendale @AZGLEA where did you send the letter to?
RG: @GlendaleFire493 @AZGLEA Hi! I sent to Attn: Joe Hester C/O Glendale Fire Department 6835 North 57th Drive Glendale AZ 85301
I’m not sure of the legalities of the FD or PD getting involved in something that is designed to negate something their City Council passed. I assume that, just as with campaign laws, there are ways for nearby FD’s and unions to circumvent the regulations and become involved if they choose, as they did in their opposition of Joyce Clark. I assume Glendale FD will pass on this one, although their Twitter stream was edited to delete the above exchange for some reason some time after we took the screenshot.
Tea Party Involvement
We hear that the Tea Party will also be involved in gathering signatures. This was the case last time, based on an email from Phil Lieberman exhorting them to become more involved in the late stages of the last referendum try. The tone of Phil’s email was that the Tea Party “Patriots” had promised support and then didn’t follow through. While this is a common occurrence even on the Coyotes fan side, there is some reason to believe they might actually be more involved this time. Why? They suffered embarrassing defeats with their support of Walt Opaska, Prop 457 and even the prior referendum attempt. So this time maybe they step up.
Speaking of Walt Opaska, we also hear he is throwing in his support. Fear not, Coyotes people, the last time Walt “stepped up” for something beyond his failed mayoral campaign was to support Prop 457 and gather signatures. He managed to gather a total of 17 signatures including his and that of his wife. Assuming they need 3,000 signatures to reach their goal in less than a month, they would need a minimum of 175 MORE Walt Opaskas to get there. I doubt there are that many Walt Opaskas to go around.
Seriously, though, go to a regular Glendale Tea Party meeting at Denny’s. Count the people there. Assume every single one of them gets 200 signatures. How much will that help with their stated goal of 3,000 signatures? It’s simple math, people.
What people usually do when they have money and want to get petitions signed is to hire paid circulators to get the signatures. In the Phoenix area there are essentially three local firms to get this done, Coleman Dahm & Associates, Summit Consulting Group and Petition Partners. Scuttlebutt has it that one of these groups may have been contracted for up to 30 paid circulators at $3 per signature. The Prop 457 people paid Dahm over $13k for paid circulators for their petitions, so I’d imagine that, if the rumors are true of course, they are the firm that’s been hired because the people involved are pretty similar.
What usually happens in cases such as this is that one “side” will hire one firm to gather signatures, and the other side will hire a different firm to negate the circulators and signatures and perform other means of signature suppression. We did it differently the last time a referendum was afoot, we offered educational materials and real facts to people in the area of the petition circulators. It worked perfectly well. I imagine that’s what Ken and Francine expect to see this time, perhaps they even worked up some sort of super clever strategery to have Ken bait us at the “liberry” (as Sammy Chavira would say) while the “real” petition gatherers were elsewhere, say at Glendale Glitters or something. Man that WOULD be clever!
Now, using our thinking caps, who makes a better signature gatherer, a volunteer or a paid circulator? It would be hard to argue for a volunteer. A valid signature and valid petition sheets have rules. While a professional circulator might know the regulations better than a volunteer, there is little incentive for them to vet the signatures for validity if they are being paid $3 per signature on a valid sheet, right? So, paid circulators have disadvantages as well as advantages. There must also, in Arizona, be a prominent message
Let’s use the numbers Francine has been throwing around as to their signature count goal. She states they need 3,000 even though the Glendale City Clerk has said otherwise. In the guise of @RottenGlendale (assuming it’s her or a reasonable facsimile), she has stated that the clerk’s office is essentially stupid. While my experience has been the opposite, let’s use her numbers to do our math problem now.
Remember the Prop 457 signature gathering done by a mix of professionals and volunteers? Let’s use that as our benchmark, even though the number of VALID signatures they gathered wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the count Francine says they need. The Prop 457 people, by the way, spent a TON of money trying to get that initiative through, only to fail in a landslide. It would be logical to assume that the big spenders in that fiasco wouldn’t be likely to write checks for Ken and Francine to tilt at this particular windmill. The Prop 457 people gathered over 4100 signatures to arrive with about (if memory serves) 2700 valid ones. Let’s not quibble and state that Ken and Francine need 4000 signatures to get their 3000 required.
Let’s say they started gathering signatures yesterday, November 30. That leaves them with a total of 28 days to gather 4000 signatures for a total of 143 UNIQUE signatures per day. Is that an attainable goal? Maybe, although the price per signature will probably have to be raised considerably toward the end of the 28 days as it was with the Prop 457 project.
People in Glendale are tired of politics. There have been signs shouting at them on corners and from people’s front yards for so long now they’re numb. Add in that it’s the holidays and people are going to be busy shopping and/or out of town. Ken sitting in front of libraries isn’t going to cut it, just like it didn’t cut it last time. Paid circulators are flaky and expensive and often have issues preventing them from legally gathering petition signatures. If signatures are gathered at shopping centers, usually a complaint from one watchful person is enough to dismiss them from the area.
So, it’s a tall order for Ken and Francine. It’s even taller if Francine is wrong and they actually need ten percent of the vote instead of the five she is banking on.
By the way, I’m pretty sure it’s ten percent so doubling all the numbers in the math other than the days available will get you to the barest of bare minimum signatures they have to gather.
Shhhhhhh, it’s just between us okay? Don’t tell Francine or Ken.
Semper Fi Coyotes brothers and sisters.
UPDATE: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Ken Jones has made his debut at the libraries with his table and his petitions. He is a tough guy and will likely be out working for signatures until the very last day unless it looks like he is coming up extremely short. He is unaccompanied by friends and foes, perhaps because the late filing of their papers made it too late to organize before the weekend. Maybe, I don’t know.
Anyway, I imagine that Ken will have company for much of his time as will the other people wandering Glendale in search of signatures.