Tuesday, February 14, 2006

VOE Repeal Effort Fails Signature Count--Twice

The totteringly large, past-drunk woman who used to Happy Hour herself into unconsciousness at the bar I played at now and again, was ultimately a sad and broken lady. But it was hard to feel bad when she opened up her mostly toothless mouth and shouted (almost always apropos of nothing), "OUUCHEEE-BAYBEEE!" It was drawled out alcoholically, like Koko Taylor coming on to you at 4AM after New Year's.

Hmm...apropos of nothing? you may be saying. Rather like that little anecdote I told just there. But in reading the scoop over at Willamette Week this evening, "Koko" came to mind in much the same way Nelson Muntz comes to others. For such a jawslapping rebuke as First Things First got from the Elections audit today on their signature campaign to repeal voter-owner elections, all I could think was "OUUCHEEE-BAYBEEE!"

Three hundred and fifty large--including 150K they haven't paid back yet--went into the signature drive (roughly $20K of it went to legal fees and $40K for 'management' provided by Laura Imeson), and they couldn't even find a company that would count signatures for them beforehand and weed out the duplicates. [I have to ask--do people deliberately sign twice, are they notoriously absent-minded, or are they too afraid not to sign again when another guy comes by?]

The 'Week and a similar story by OPB claim that a repeal appeal is possible, if the appeals body finds the repeal argument appealing enough to grant the repeal the appeal. The Willy isn't impressed:
[T]he chances of qualifying once rejected are slim. [City Elections Officer Susan] Francois says that since she began overseeing city elections in 1998, no petition which failed after two samples was later found to have sufficient signatures.

Not a big sample, but not encouraging. Will they try again for November? I think they've lost the meme wars, and it will be tough to garner mainstream individual support for keeping big donors in business as usual. At least for this cycle, I'm willing to suggest that VOE is a go.