An article in the Columbus Dispatch is helping connect the dots on the fraud-riddled campaign to kill the Community Defense Act (CDA), a law which puts restrictions on what dancers and patrons can do at strip clubs and also (finally) gives some power to local authorities in rural areas to pass effective local restrictions. A group known as the Vote No on Issue 1 Committee (the Committee) is using every legal maneuver in its bag of tricks (and its a very big bag full of tricks and illusions designed to fool the public as noted in earlier blog articles) to get more time to gather signatures for its effort to get its referendum to the ballot.
The Dispatch reports that attorneys for the committee are trying desperate maneuvers to get a few extra days of signature gathering time. They have sued to change the signature gathering deadline from Friday October 5, 2007 to Sunday October 7, 2007, an additional 2 days and really 4 days since the Secretary of State’s office is closed on Sundays and Monday is a holiday. The judge, Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Horton, has refused to issue a temporary restraining order but is holding a hearing at 9:00 AM on Friday October 5, 2007 for an injunction.
Why are we concluding that desperation is behind these efforts? The Committee is arguing for just 2 more days (really 4) using an almost unbelievably vacuous legal argument. Attorneys for the Committee are arguing that an additional 10 day window for meeting the signature minimums required for ballot access (a standard practice) began not when the Secretary of State sent the letter but when representatives of the Committee received the letter. What makes this argument absurd you ask? First, because the letter is a formality. The Committee has known for some time that they weren’t going to make it. They didn’t need the letter from the Secretary of State to know that. Secondly, because the Committee never stopped collecting signatures after it turned in the original batch in September. They have had weeks to gather the nearly 400,000 they will need, if the previous valid signature rate of 31% holds, so two more days probably won’t make much difference if recent scuttlebutt proves true. And that scuttlebutt says that signature gatherers are having trouble getting people to sign. A lot of trouble. The bad publicity from earlier petition fraud has now caught up and is stifling additional efforts to gather signatures. People want to avoid being defrauded or being involved in fraud. The Dispatch reports that as of Tuesday October 2, 2007 the Committee had only added 150,000 additional signatures to their total. Assuming a 31% validity rate thats less than 47,000 valid signatures towards about 116,000 necessary. Pretty dismal.
An article in the Dispatch from Tuesday October 2, 2007 says that the Craig Group is “…no longer is collecting signatures…” a polite way of saying they’ve been fired. The article also says they were paid $1 million dollars, a million bucks (!), to get the job done. Who wonders out there if the check has cleared or even if it has been cut yet? Frankly, it is difficult to believe that any group that condones petition fraud by turning in signatures gathered under false pretenses wouldn’t also hesitate to stiff the people hired to get the signatures. Oh, yes and where exactly has all of the money to run the referendum campaign come from. Preliminary reports say that about 75% of the millions spent so far have come from out of state pornography producers. Nice allies, eh?
The Bottom Line
The bottom line on all of this is that, despite the bad news coming out for the Committee we must assume that this issue will be on the ballot. There are still lots of legal tricks and shenanigans available to the strip club executives and pornography producers behind this effort and the Secretary of State has proven to be at least “friendly” to the Committee, perhaps due to her husband’s cozy relations with the strip club owners.
So here it is-
On the November 6 ballot the ballot initiative will be Issue 1.
If you want the CDA law which regulates strip club and adult business hours and activities to take effect you must vote– YES
If you want strip clubs and adult businesses to continue to operate unregulated you must vote- NO
If you care about this issue- GET OUT AND VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6!