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Monday, June 1, 2009

Did Chávez Boulevard group submit enough signatures?

The neighbors who oppose the renaming of East 39th Avenue say it didn't -- or at least, that the city broke the rules in checking whether it did.

Comments (15)

I'm sure all of the signature gatherers conformed to the various rules concocted by two highly political Secretaries of State to suppress initiatives. Even though the rules by their terms may not apply to Street Name Petitions, the same goal of eliminating fraud would inspire the noble petitioners to comply with the highest standards - especially since, while the State petitions have a second check in the form of an election to implement the petitioners' goal, the street renaming process has no such backstop. It is good to live in such an Ideal Democracy.

I think if the random sampling gets almost 40% of the signatures tossed, then they should either test every signature or say they screwed up too much and tell them to start over. (47% bad signatures in the second batch? They must have been getting desperate.)

It's cute that they think that such things as following city procedure, talking about statistical validation, and the like will actually matter. The fix is in on this one, and Randy and Sam really don't care what the residents of any area think. Their only interest at this point is moving the process along far enough that they can say "hey, the street signs have been printed! We can't turn back now!" It's as good as done.

(You can use my above paragraph for any story involving SE 39th or the Lents stadium shenanigans. The attitudes and tactics are exactly the same in each case.)

This will be interesting. The "second batch" really seems to raise procedural issues.

First was the trickling in of the "one additional batch" over three days. The first part of the second batch had 93 sheets - the other two days have 8 sheets. I'm not sure where batch is defined, but it seems like the 8 late sheets ought to be tossed.

Second, the verification for a second batch does seem to contemplate either verifying "the new names and addresses" in the second batch (perhaps in the case there aren't very many) or drawing a new sample of 300 names from the combined total of the first and second batches.

Even after tossing the 8 late sheets of the second batch (almost 10% of them), a correct sampling seems likely to fall VERY close to the threshold. The result could actually come down to the degree that the random 300 samples of the combined first and second batches tilts toward one batch or the other, even within perfectly random variation.

Didn't they break filing rules from the onset by proposing three streets to rename rather than one street?

Brian says: Didn't they break filing rules from the onset by proposing three streets to rename rather than one street?

Many people think that the Committee did not submit a valid application because it listed three streets. City Code states: "Only one street renaming application shall be processed at a time ..."

The City relied on the City Attorney's interpretation, but that does not mean the City Attorney is correct.

The three-applications point was discussed here.

No one has yet referenced this piece from the O on Saturday :

This entire endeavor has long since passed shameful; but the group pressing so single-mindedly has shown no capacity for shame, though they would be embarrassing to Mr Chávez. Same for the panders who compose our City Council.

There is no question that Mr Chávez has been immensely influential across this country, reaching all the way to the East Coast, where the UFW was instrumental in bettering the lives of workers on the large farms of southern 'Jersey -- farms that probably fed the host of this blog.

There is no question that Mr Chávez should be honored in a manner that is appropriate, reasonable, and fair to everyone.

And there is no possibility that the process engaged in to date can result in honoring his work, his life, and his memory.

Are you kidding me? Of course the city broke its own rules. The city does it all the time. Don't you know that those rules only apply to ordinary citizens, certainly not favored interest groups or the political elites.

I am hoping the time has come that Portland politicians and the city is legally called on the misapplication (and sometimes fraudulently so) of its own rules. The recent LUBA appeal on Urban Renewal misuse is a beginning. Maybe the 39th Committee will do the same. Its about time.

Who is actually on the "Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee", and where does its funding come from? Guembes or Romero won't say.

The most galling part of the process is that (according to the City), petition signers are not required to be legal US citizens. The only thing they care about is whether they are residents of Portland.

There's also no requirement that they live anywhere near the street in question.

This evening, a Channel Two anchor mentioned that they had received a great deal of comment via e-mail and phone messages. A second news automaton jumped in with the comment, "Yeah, just change the name already!" and another chimed in, "Right!" This is NOT the attitude of a majority of commenters online and elsewhere, bobbleheads.

I'd take a good, hard look at how many live within the city limits of Portland.

The Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee consists, as far as I can tell, of Juan Romero and Marta Guembes. These are the only two names that appear on the official website and the only people for whom e-mail contact addresses are given. These are the only people who are interviewed on behalf of the Committee. One of them does not even live in Portland; I don't know about the other.

All statements are signed, "The Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee."

The website FAQ at http://www.cesarechavezboulevard.com/ says:

The Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee (CECBC) is a committee of volunteers and community members that have been meeting since the early spring 2007 with the goal of renaming a street in Portland after the late civil rights leader and community servant, Cesar E. Chavez. Membership is open to all interested community members. Current members are from the Portland Metro Area, Multnomah County, and Washington County."

No idea how many people are on the committee or who they are since minutes of any meetings have either not been kept or made public.

And one of the committee members got a tax abatement that he should not have gotten.

Even worse ... since the County Auditor's report ... no one has made any effort to collect current or back taxes.

The math in their letter is faulty.

They total:
Total signatures gathered
Total signatures sampled

But then they multiply it by the AVERAGE VALIDITY of the two sample sets, despite the fact that the two sample sets are of completely different sizes.

The 39th Ave folks need to weight the validity multiplier by the sample size, giving roughly twice as much weight to the first sample's validity rate, which would make the Chavez folks have more than 2500.

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