UPDATE 21 Aug 2010:
Nicholas Alford – The Corsair
Marty Donovan and his associates with the Park Yes Stadium No succeeded in collecting 3,916 signatures for their petition to put the Community Maritime Park decision back to a referendum.
However, city officials refused to take the petitions, saying that they cannot accept them after close of business.
“It was always clear to me that there was no time specified in the city charter,” Donovan said, “It’s like saying your tax return has to be in April 15th: people are going to the post office at 11:59 to get their tax returns stamped as having been delivered.”
Donovan, Jack Nobles, and several other citizens supporting the cause would not accept that answer, and drove to Mayor Mike Wiggins home and knocked on his door. Wiggins answered the door to find about 12 supporters on his lawn, and told them he will have to make some phone calls before he decides whether or not to accept the petitions. After five minutes, he came back out to his front porch, told everyone that he refuses to take the petitions, and asked them to leave his property.
“It is my understanding that the clerk is supposed to take these petitions,” Wiggins said, “As I am not the city clerk, I refuse to take responsibility for them.”
But the group had visited the city clerk’s home before that as well, and she wasn’t home.
The crew then drove to the city police station to see if they could hold the petitions in the evidence locker, but the police were already ordered ahead of time by City Manager Alvin Coby not to accept the petitions.
After a long night of being refused by several city judges and county sheriffs, the group took the petitions to a local attorney named Dave Jester who accepted the petitions which were sealed, signed by all four members of the committee and dated. According to him, the city clerk has a legal obligation to to take them no matter the circumstances.
The petitions will be delivered to city hall Monday morning, Aug 23.