STOP has enough signatures, but here's what's next

STOP has the 22,000 signatures they needed for their initiative to qualify for the ballot. But the verification process is not over.

The petition put together by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) to place the city's financing plan for a new downtown arena on the ballot has enough signatures to qualify, the county of Sacramento announced Friday.

STOP needed 22,000 valid signatures and they now have 22,498, or a 65.2 percent validity rate. The group needed at least a 62 percent validity rate for it to qualify.

Below is a breakdown of the current count from the county registrar's office.

Raw Count

35,247

Signatures checked

34,532

Signatures not checked

715

Signatures Valid

22,498

65.2%

Signatures Invalid

12,034

34.8%

Approved

22,498

65.2%

Not Registered

4924

14.3%

Out of District

556

1.6%

Duplicate

81

0.2%

Withdrawn

1426

4.1%

Registered Late

183

0.5%

Registered at a different Address

2666

7.7%

No Residence Address Given

117

0.3%

No Signature

24

0.1%

Signatures Don't Match

1397

4.0%

Withdrawn and out of district

22

0.1%

Name/Add not completed by signer

452

1.3%

Circulator's  signature problem

32

0.1%

Circulator's date incorrect or not listed

154

0.4%

So what happens next? Well, this validation process isn't over just yet.

Sacramento City Clerk, Shirley Concolino will have the final say on whether the petition is ultimately valid. Assistant City Clerk, Wendy Klock-Johnson, told Sactown Royalty that Concolino will examine the county's findings "as well as ensure that the petition and the materials meet the requirements of the charter and the election code and then she will deem it sufficient or insufficient."

Here is Concolino, via Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee.

"I feel compelled to remind the community that simply reaching this (22,165) threshold does not conclude the petition validation process," she added in a statement released hours before the county provided its update. "Regardless of how many signatures are deemed valid, the final certification of the election lies with the city’s elections official, the city clerk."

Should Concolino accept the petitions, she would "forward the certificate of petition results to the council (council meeting item) for acceptance and the council would at that time have options for consideration per the election code."

The council members, based on the election code, would have these options:

9214.  ......the legislative body shall do one of the following:

(a) Adopt the ordinance, without alteration, at the regular

meeting at which the certification of the petition is presented, or

within 10 days after it is presented.

(b) Immediately order a special election, to be held pursuant to

subdivision (a) of Section 1405, at which the ordinance, without

alteration, shall be submitted to a vote of the voters of the city.

(c) Order a report pursuant to Section 9212 at the regular meeting

at which the certification of the petition is presented. When the

report is presented to the legislative body, the legislative body

shall either adopt the ordinance within 10 days or order an election

pursuant to subdivision (b).

In layman's terms, this ultimately means the council can adopt it, they can send it to an election or they can ask for a further report. But regardless of these options, they still have to ultimately adopt it/send it to an election based on these conditions. So the ball is in Concolino's court. Her office has until Jan. 28 to finalize that verification process.

This thing could end up in the courts before it ends up on the ballot, however. It certainly seems like a strong possibility considering the reports that there may be at least eight different versions of STOP's petition, which would violate election code.

The4000 group released a statement on Friday, calling the initiative a "Trojan Horse" and stating that STOP misrepresented the public about the intent of the petition, which was largely funded with a $100,000 contribution from Seattle's Chris Hansen. In the letter, the group also requests the city reject some of the petitions that have issues and suggests legal action.

"Throughout this entire effort, those behind these petitions have misrepresented their real agenda, acted to deceive the public about who is really behind the campaign and dissembled about the very nature of the petitions. For these reasons, the ballot initiative is not what it purports to be but in fact is a Trojan Horse of ballot initiatives designed to do great harm to Sacramento," the statement said.

The county has confirmed there is more than one version of the petition, but has yet to say exactly how many. The registrar's office did begin separating them last week when the verification process was started over, however. The city expects to confirm how many versions of the petition there are once the county finishes checking the remaining 715 signatures.

With about a 1,000 signature buffer, there is a strong possibility of the petition being thrown out if any of the versions of the petition are found to be in violation of the election code.

If the petition gets through these hoops and does not face any scrutiny from a judge, it would be put on the June ballot. Voters would then vote on whether the city's $258 contribution to the new downtown arena needs to be placed on the November ballot. If that passes, the residents of the city of Sacramento would vote on the financing plan this November.

Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger released the following statement.

"As we have stated in the past, we love Sacramento and are committed to doing all we can to support the City's efforts to develop an entertainment and sports complex that will help revitalize our downtown. The Kings appreciate the support we have received from the community and know that the organization is fortunate to have the best and most loyal fans in all of the NBA. We share the many concerns expressed by the Mayor, The 4000 and others in Sacramento regarding the anti-arena campaign and are prepared to work to support their leadership."

On a side note, News 10's Nick Monacelli, on Thursday, shared the below design concept of the proposed downtown arena, which shows that the developers are looking at creating an outdoor plaza next to the arena, including an outdoor basketball court with its own stands.

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