Glendale petition effort heats up before vote - Your West Valley News: Topstory

Glendale petition effort heats up before vote

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Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 4:15 pm

Glendale residents Joe Cobb and Ken Jones, plaintiffs in the Goldwater Institute’s case against the city of Glendale, split up Saturday to gather signatures at Glendale’s Main Library and Foothills Branch Library.

Cobb chose to set up at Foothills.

“The shade here is better,” he said.

He was not alone, however.

Darrold Larson of the Coyotes Political Action Committee also was at the library.

Cobb was asking people to sign a form in the hopes of getting a referendum on the November ballot regarding Glendale’s lease agreement with former San Jose Sharks CEO and prospective Phoenix Coyotes owner Greg Jamison.

Larson was just a few feet away, urging those same people not to.

“We’re not here to argue with (Cobb),” Larson said. “We just want to give a different view so it’s not one-sided.”

As for how Cobb and Jones are doing in their signature-gathering effort, Cobb said they do not know for sure.

“We have about 40 volunteers who have been collecting for us the past week and a half and only a few have turned in their signatures so far,” he said. “I personally have collected about 350 and my colleague Ken Jones has gotten a little more than that. We won’t know how many we have for sure until the last few days.”

Cobb has until July 13 to collect at least 1,682 signatures.

“Some will be invalidated, some will be illegible,” he said. “It’s our job to account for that.”

Cobb said he and Jones will be at their respective posts at the libraries every day until July 13 getting as many signatures as they can. Larson said he or someone else from Coyotes PAC will be there, too.

“We’re just trying to tell people the Coyotes are not the problem,” Larson said. “The arena is not why the city is in debt.”

Larson made his case to one library patron, saying losing the Coyotes now would only make the situation worse.

“Imagine 663,366 paying customers disappearing,” he said. “The Coyotes donate $400,000 in grants to local charities every year. Restaurants, hotels, businesses at Westgate, they all generate tax income, and that would all go down without the Coyotes.”

Cobb and Larson both said people have generally responded positively to their arguments. Cobb said most people who stop to hear what he has to say end up signing, while Larson said he’s had a few people who already signed ask if there is any way to have their names removed.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink on Thursday rejected a claim by the Goldwater Institute that the city should have had open bidding on arena operations for Jobing.com Arena. Cobb said that ruling was expected and it does not change a thing.

“In fact, it heightens the need to get the referendum on the ballot,” he said.

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or jdempsey@yourwestvalley.com.

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