Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If you can't get petitions right, why should we trust you to get a county charter government right?

The paper has another article about changing the form of county government - surprise!

After previously covering the fact that Better Lucas County (what a misnomer!) failed to submit enough valid petition signatures to put the measure on the ballot, they have today's story telling us they're going to try to get more signatures.

But we already knew that.

From the first article comes this lead paragraph:

It’s back to the streets for petitioners hoping to spur change in Lucas County’s government.

If that doesn't tell us the group is going to try to get more signatures, we also have this:

Thomas Palmer, a Toledo lawyer involved in the county reform effort, said the group will meet Tuesday to decide whether to appeal the elections board’s conclusions, and to decide how to make up the signature deficit.

Note that Palmer said "how" to make up the deficit. They were going to decide "whether" to appeal, but the decision to get more signatures was a given - the only question was "how" to get them.

That's twice in the earlier story that we're told they're going to collect more signatures in their effort to put the measure on the ballot.

But in traditional Blade style of pushing their agenda in what is supposed to be an unbiased and objective news report, they do today's story telling us what we already know.

Better Lucas County, the volunteer group trying to put a proposed county charter on the Nov. 6 ballot, plans to stay together after a disappointing attempt to collect nearly 14,500 signatures.

Robert Reinbolt, a group co-leader, said the group met Tuesday and agreed to continue the effort.

As if there was any doubt.

I could go on and on about the emotionally-laden and non-objective descriptive words and phrases used in the articles, but here are just a few that they are using to manipulate the perspective:

* hoping to spur change
* all is not lost
* important step
* disappointing attempt
* educate voters

The bigger point - and one most people may miss - is what Reinbolt says about their failure to ensure a very basic requirement on the petitions: having the circulators state the exact number of signatures they witnessed.

Most petitions include a blank space that needs to be filled in as part of the witness statement the circulator needs to sign. It's hard to miss, but that's exactly what Better Lucas County did:

Mr. Reinbolt said Better Lucas County focused on verifying registered voters' names and overlooked double-checking the circulators' signature counts.

As a result, over 4,000 valid signatures of the 22,195 total that they submitted were thrown out. But even if they had counted the 42 petitions with the fatal flaw, they were still short of the required number for making the ballot.

If this is the level of incompetence exhibited by Better Lucas County in just the petition process, it doesn't give you much confidence in their ability to 'reform' county government.

If my previous posts (see below) about the inaccurate assumptions, comparisons and conclusions in their study wasn't enough to have you reject the idea, certainly their inability to follow such basic requirements for the petitions will make you think twice about their aptitude, expertise and fitness to design a new form of government.

Previous posts:

Asking the wrong questions about a county charter form of government for Lucas County

The Blade is wrong about charter county government

Konop forces failed ideas into his county charter proposal

Another blatant attempt to push Lucas into a charter form of government

Next public meeting on county council issue scheduled

Initial thoughts - report on restructuring Lucas County government

Detailed look at report on changing Lucas County government

Konop admits that I am right

Citizens Review Committee makes my argument for me

Post Office closings show defect of district council seats

Deconstructing The Blade's drug-pusher mentality on changing county government

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