Friday, August 24, 2007

again, the wrong slant: we're proponents of the right to vote on our taxation

Once again, the intrepid PD reportress covering the petition drive gives the wrong facts. Our group is not opposed to the sales tax: some are, some aren't, and most haven't enough information to make an intelligent decision. What we do all have in common is that we know issues of taxation should be decided by all of us, not just two of us.

Again, too, the information is sketchy about when and where the final signature push will occur. I guess they probably wanted us to buy an ad to get that information out to the public. I hope they do a better job tomorrow. Joan has been a definite hindrance to informing the public as they should, and I think she, of marginal talent, was assigned intentionally to cover the issue, in order to cripple the dialogue. Here's the latest production of a very, very sloppy, challenged journalist:

The group opposing a quarter-penny sales tax to build a Cleveland convention center has until Saturday to gather enough signatures to force the issue to a public vote.

The group had 30 days from the day Cuyahoga County commissioners approved the tax increase to collect signatures on petitions calling for the issue to be placed on the ballot.

Even though government offices usually are closed on weekends, county Auditor Frank Russo decided Thursday to open his office on Saturday until 4:30 p.m. to accept the petitions.

Under Ohio law, the auditor receives the signed petitions and keeps them for 10 days for public viewing. After that, they will be given to the local Board of Elections, which has 10 days to verify that the signatures are of registered Cuyahoga County voters.

Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to raise the sales tax for 20 years to build a new convention center in an effort to land a Medical Mart, a collection of permanent showrooms for high-end medical equipment. Supporters say the mart could be a catalyst for economic development.

Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed, a leader of the group opposing the sales tax without a vote of the people, said members would work hard the next two days to get the more than 45,000 signatures needed. Reed wouldn't say how many signatures had been gathered so far.

"We're not giving out any numbers," he said. "We're pretty confident we'll get the number."

At the same time, however, Reed said his group was debating whether to hand in the petitions if it did not have the minimum number.

Even if the group falls short of 45,000, the auditor's office must accept them. It would be up to the Board of Elections to declare that the referendum drive failed.

Reed said the group's members were going to be walking in Parma on Saturday, and be stationed at the Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and the Orange Avenue post offices so people could drive through and sign.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4563

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