Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Did COAST Mislead Petition Signers? Citizens say: "Remove Our Signatures"

A snippet from the story by Channel 5 WLWT:
"CINCINNATI -- At least three people have asked the Hamilton County board of elections to remove their names from a petition that places a transit issue on November's ballot."

"Attorney Barbara Howard said she asked officials to remove her name because she believes she was misled by the man who collected her signature.

"The representation he made to me that this was in favor of streetcars," Howard said."

On message boards and blogs discussing the streetcar issue, there have been numerous claims and accusations stating that COAST might have been intentionally trying to mislead potential petition signers into thinking it was a pro-streetcar amendment. These quotes are from a large streetcar debate/discussion on UrbanOhio.com:
"The same tactics that some have gushed over in this thread previously - standing outside of bars to get intoxicated people to sign their 'trolley petition,' not mentioning to these same people that if you actually support the street car then you shouldn't sign"

"Streetcar *ahem* passenger rail petition guy is out from of arbys downtown (6th and Vine). I tried to convince people not to sign it. He is preying on the people near the bus stop."

"They are COMPLETELY misleading people into signing something much bigger than they are telling them. My sister-in-law was approached by one of these petition gatherers in Clifton the other day and she was simply asked "Would you like to sign the Trolley Petition?" Luckily for her she knew from me that this was actually the petition that would alter the city's charter amendment and she kindly said no."

"He was asking people if they were registered in the city, and then he would say "Would you like to sign a petition for the streetcar?". Most people just sign anything and with that type of wording it sounds like the petetion is pro-streetcar."

"I was in town this weekend for Easter, and went down to Findlay before heading to the Reds game on Saturday. I grabbed some food and saw a guy getting people to sign a petition "For the Streetcar". I went up and called him on it and I was able to get several people not to sign the petition after telling them he wants to stop the streetcar from being built. By using some clever language he was tricking people to sign it."
Until now these claims seemed to lack validity, however as the recent story from Channel 5 shows, it seems more and more citizens feel that they have been duped by COAST.

COAST's attorney Chris Finney stated in the article:
"This is really electioneering, politicking by our opponents, to suggest that," said Chris Finney, attorney for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes. "There's nothing in the charter amendment that prevents anything; it requires a public vote."
Chris, buddy, I don't think these folks are trying to "politick" you, they're quite upset. They're upset because they believe you and COAST mislead them. It seems now that citizens are coming forward maybe the claims from Urban Ohio and others have some validity.

Perhaps COAST has been intentionally misleading petition signers?

If you feel you've been deceived and would like to inquire about having your signature removed from the petition, contact the Hamilton County Board of Elections.


  1. Barbara Howard is the President of the Ohio State Bar Association. You expect me to believe she signed a legal document without understanding it?!? It's a single sentance, 64 words long. What, she couldn't spare the time to read it?

    This is a political stunt, pure and simple. Trolley proponents will go to any length to prevent the people from voting on passenger rail transportation. They have to; the whole plan is without merit, and would never survive public scrutiny.

  2. Great post, Tairy - I too was almost one of the duped. Fortunately, I looked past what the guy with the petition actually told me and wanted to see the documentation, which is when I obviously declined to sign.
    Unfortunately, though, I can see a lot of people just trusting what these casually "nice" dupesters say, then just sign the thing. It's not surprising that there's a backlash now.

    Lastly, just think how many friends Mark/Chris/COAST could make if they put forth even just half the effort of their anti-rail position towards something like... oh, I don't know... the massive gov. spending and taxes related to the automobile - especially in this economic climate.
    It's really amazing - they just don't get it.