Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What is the Value of a Petition?

We once again use our WABAC Machine for some research into the value of a Petition signed by voters.
We set the machine to... oh.... August 1999. Back then, the Nassau County Legislature was under republican control with a super-majority the Democrats could not crack. The fiscal crisis for Nassau County was more evident and something needed to be done to stop the bleeding. Deputy Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt and the Gulotta republicans again floated more one-shots that had no long-term solutions.
The Democrats had an idea for a "strict oversight board" for the next budget. Democrat Judy Jacobs complained "'Anything we propose goes into a black hole.''
And the Democrats were ignored.
But they had an idea!
The County Charter says that with enough signatures on a petition, the Legislature will be forced to have a hearing on the issue.
According to the NYTimes story, "
The idea was inspired by a marathon legislative session on Aug. 9, when a new 1 percent real estate transfer tax was enacted late at night, after most of the citizens who wanted to speak out against it had already gone home to bed. Tina Sackman, a financial planner from Manhasset who lasted until after 11 P.M., said the experience left her not only disgusted but despondent at the chances for real change.

Ms. Sackman, a registered Republican who has voted for Mr. Gulotta, and her companion, Scott Nigro, had collected 450 signatures in a few hours the previous Saturday for a spur-of-the-moment petition opposing the transfer tax. ''We had people standing in line to sign,'' Mr. Nigro, a salesman, said. ''They kept saying, 'We have to get Gulotta out.' ''

Now how did Deputy Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt react to petitions signed by the people of Nassau County?
Schmitt says "a petition would not be persuasive... I would have no problem getting 2,000 signatures. What does that say? I could get you thousands of signatures against the Bill of Rights.''

I'm sorry, what did Schmitt say? Oh yeah, he's saying he would ignore the petition and the voters should be ignored.

Now back here in the present, Schmitt is in the minority on the legislature and he wanted to push his reassessment freeze gimmick.
So what does he do?
Why he holds a petition drive!!!!

Schmitt says "We will go over the taxing Democrats' heads and go directly to the people who will tell Presiding Officer Jacobs to do her job and put this sorely needed tax relief measure on the legislative calendar for a public hearing,"

Hmmm... do we have to remind Schmitt how HE reacted to the Democrats petition drive?
In Contrast, here is Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs on the republican petitions "If presented with the legal number of signatures I will follow the charter and this issue will be brought before the legislature by the end of the year."

So who actually cares what the voters think?

Is it Schmitt who scoffs at petitions saying he could get thousands of signatures opposing the Bill of Rights or Judy Jacobs who said she would abide by the County Charter and the signers of the petition?

Why, that would be Judy Jacobs of course.

Schmitt is just a hypocrite.

No comments: