The civic organization GlendaleFirst! will release a report today claiming the petition for a public vote on Glendale’s arena lease agreement with the potential owner of the Phoenix Coyotes is invalid.
An early copy of its press release follows: (Check back later for Craig Morgan’s analysis on what this means for the potential sale of the Phoenix Coyotes.)
GlendaleFirst! has completed its in-depth investigation of Petition for Referendum R-12- 01 and concludes that not only were the petitions not turned into the City of Glendale on the required date of July 9, 2012, but that the Petition for Referendum was fraught with fatal flaws.
Petitioning for a Referendum against a municipal action in Arizona requires following a few procedures. On page ONE of the handbook handed to everybody “pulling a packet” for a petition (which was done on June 15, 2012 in this case) is the following sentence: “An application for a referendum petition serial number along with a 100 word description and a copy of the measure must be filed with the Secretary of State* before the circulation of the petition.” ( *for local elections Secretary of State should be replaced with City Clerk, and will be replaced as such in the remainder of this release)
The above sentence indicates that, when submitting an application, the person applying must also submit to the clerk a 100 word description of the petition and a copy of the actual measure for filing. The political committee in this case ONLY filed the application itself, leaving out both the 100 word description and the copy of the measure. The 100 word description is also supposed to be printed on the face of each petition sheet in no less than 8 point type for later comparison with the filed description when verifying turned in petition sheets. This description must be on file with the clerk’s office BEFORE any petitions are circulated. The measure they also failed to submit to the clerk’s office is the actual words that, should the referendum pass through to a ballot, people would read and decide which way to vote. This measure was also supposed to be printed on each petition sheet used to gather signatures. Again, this must be on file BEFORE any petitions are circulated.
Either of these errors would be cause for the rejection of the entire petition on its own. This petition, serial number R-12-01 had two of these severe errors.
A.R.S. § 16-901 requires petitioners to file a committee, which was done by those seeking the referendum on June 20, 2012. The committee is a Political Committee with a $500 Threshold, indicating they are not going to spend or receive more than $500. If the committee does exceed the $500 threshold, they need to file another statement of organization within 5 days of expanding. If those seeking the referendum were receiving legal advice, or if they hired petition gatherers, even as in-kind donation, this would have obviously been valued at more than $500 and thus a violation of campaign finance law. GlendaleFirst! has been made aware of the presence of a law clerk and a PR person from other parties with one of the petitioners while gathering signatures, but were unable to ascertain whether they were actually offering legal services.
ARS § 16-902.01 (D) requires that once the committee is filed, and the Referendum Petition Serial Number (R-12-01 in this case) is assigned by the city, the petitioners MUST amend the name of their committee to include this serial number within five business days. They must also declare whether the committee is in favor of or opposition to the referendum. For example, the official Glendale First! name is “Glendale First! in opposition to petition for referendum R-12-01”.
The above omission of the change of the committee name is a third fatal mistake that would cause immediate rejection of the Petition for Referendum R-12-01.
Glendale First! therefore concludes that, because of the above technical errors in the documentation and registration of Petition for Referendum R-12-01, all signatures in support of the petition that are turned in at the Glendale City Clerk office would be rejected outright upon discovery of the above three major flaws. So, regardless of any possible dispute of the number of days available to collect signatures, that point is moot because the signatures were being collected in support of an invalid petition. GlendaleFirst! has had an army of dedicated volunteers working on education and signature suppression, but have asked our people to cease operations as of July 10, 2012.
GlendaleFirst! grassroots campaign played a major role in informing the electorate and putting down this misguided and misleading referendum attempt. GlendaleFirst! would like to thank their army of volunteers without whom none of this would have been possible. It has truly been a privilege to engage the community alongside so many passionate and dedicated men and women.