Elk Grove Signature Gatherer Claims Anti-Casino, Mall Petition Drive Has Met Goal

November 19, 2016 |   A signature gatherer working the Winco store on Sheldon Road in Elk Grove this morning claims a controversial...

November 19, 2016 |  

A signature gatherer working the Winco store on Sheldon Road in Elk Grove this morning claims a controversial petition drive is close to wrapping up as they have exceeded their required goal.

The gatherer, who asked not to be identified, claimed they have gathered over 14,000 signatures in the last week and a half to place an initiative in front of Elk Grove voters. If placed on a ballot, the initiative would ask Elk Grove voters to reverse an October 12 vote by the Elk Grove City Council to release the Howard Hughes Company from a development agreement covering their unfinished shopping center, the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove.

By releasing the development agreement, HHC can sell a portion of their parcel to the Wilton Rancheria who has proposed a $400-million casino resort. To aid in approval for the proposed Indian casino, the Bureau of Indian Affairs requires the parcel to be unencumbered for placement in Federal trust on behalf of the tribe.

The signature gatherer claimed the 14,000 signature exceeded the goal needed to qualify it for a vote, although that claim could not be verified. He also noted that while they will continue gathering signatures over the next few days, there is a counter drive that is offering voters to rescind their signature from their petitions. 

"We need plenty of cushion," he added. 

The identity of who is organizing the drive has not been revealed and that has been a point of contention for Region Business. The petition drive is organized by a Arnol Petition Services, who has not returned calls seeking comment or inquiries as to who is paying for the petition drive.

The petition drive has been a contentious matter in the last several days as gatherers have been accused of a variety of unsavory tactics to acquire signatures. Leading the offensive against the petition drive has been Sacramento-based business advocacy group, Region Business.

Along with having sign wavers stationed at the same locations as the signature gatherers, Region Business has placed at least three robo calls to Elk Grove residents warning if the the petition drive succeeds it would hurt the resumption of construction on the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove. The calls have included messages from Region Business Executive Director Joshua Wood, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Elk Grove City Councilmen Steve Detrick.

"The only thing it proves it that they lied to 14,000 people," Wood said in response to the gatherer's claim. "That is not a marker of success, it's a symbol of shame."  

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