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Updates from Around the State - June 6

Bette Keva (8th Essex - Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynn)

Looks like things are moving very well. I'm happy to be helping. My daughter, Anastasia, came with me to Stop & Shop and Swampscott and we collected 44 signatures, 39 from my district and the others from parts of Salem and Lynn. We will have a lot more by the time this weekend is over.

Since the issues on the proposed referendum question appear to be all national in scope, how do I explain when folks ask why it's being placed on the state agenda? What I tell them is that similar referenda are planned for other states but I don't really know. Can you give me a better answer?

Also, whomever wrote this initiative I'm sure is experienced in such things; but the complaint I keep getting is that there is too much rolled into one referendum question. What most people balk at (those who do balk) is the last issue -- redirecting military spending and getting the troops out of Afghanistan. Many say they don't want less money spent on the military, and others say Obama is already getting the troops safely out of Afghanistan. So, this makes me worry that even when the question does get on the ballot, a lot of people will be thrown out of kilter by so many issues. Was it purposely worded to put everything in, not wanting to leave anything on the progressive agenda out? Knowing what I know now (after several days of petitioning) I'd say we would have been better off with the first 3 issues in one ballot question and the redirecting the military budget on a separate ballot question.

Also, can you tell me how many signatures are needed to get this question on the November ballot state-wide? Is it possible for the question to be on the ballots in those districts that got enough signatures and not in other districts.

So, those are my questions. How are things going, and do other people have questions/input as well? It would be interesting to share our stories. I have approximately 75 from District 8 now and approximately 15 from parts of Lynn and Salem. If I could find a map that precisely shows me the streets in Lynn that are in District 8, I'd have an easier time getting those signatures. As it is, I'm not trying to get Lynners to sign.

Michael Kane (Boston)

May 31: Today, we confirmed that Boston has certified (informally) 1,230 for Rush—so this one is done! We brought in another 47 for Rush in Boston today, and have 50 from Dedham which we’re taking in tomorrow. The Boston number is not official until verified by the City Election Commissioners, who won’t meet next until June 21. I’ll call tomorrow to get the total informally certified for all the Boston Senate Districts to date, to report on the call.

We’ve also turned in close to 400 for Chang Diaz and have about 175 in DiDomenico’s district that we haven’t turned in yet. We also have about 40 from Brookline from Roche’s Brothers that I can mail to the Brookline committee.

We’re planning to start in the Brownsberger Senate District tomorrow, June 1.

Lisette Le - Chang-Diaz and Petruccelli

In Chang-Diaz we have at least 500, maybe more like 800, counting the MAHT ones. Confident.

Petruccelli - CPA just started door knocking 2 days a week. NUBE started. We are confident.

Hart - NEU4J effort is going well.

Virginia Pratt

I spent three hours last Saturday (Memorial Day Weekend) collecting signatures,first in Central Square with little success and then at the library with much better success. I have close to a page with Cambridge signatures and about 1/2 a page with Somerville, and a few from Arlington.

Carolyn Federoff

Jehlen senate district: Tried signature collecting on Sunday at the Johnnies Foodmaster. This will be a tough location for less than two signature gatherers, as the layout makes it too easy for shoppers to studiously avoid you. Also went to the Wholefoods in Medford. This is a better location, but there's no shelter. So any sort of inclimate weather makes it difficult. Got about 6 signatures in between raindrops, all from Medford. They're hosting a "green fest" next Saturday, from noon to 4pm, in the parking lot. Recommend we plan to cover. We'll need appropriate Arlington petitions, too, as there are a lot of Arlington shoppers. Will get petitions to a Somerville affordable housing coalition to give to co-workers to collect signatures; she'll ask them to collect 10 signatures each.

Melrose--the Melrose voter registrar seems to take a lot of Mondays off, and I haven't been able to determine what the certified numbers are. The volunteer collecting at the convention reported that most of the Melrose delegation had already signed, so not many there. I haven't been able to ID the mystery signature gatherer at the Melrose Johnnies, as she isn't one of my identified volunteers. I got another 15 signatures at Johnnies this Sunday in about an hour. Truthfully, I don't find grocery stores all that amenable to signature gathering. I plan to petition at the ersatz farmer's market at the YMCA Saturday morning with a volunteer. Afterwards, I'll head over to the Medford Wholefoods "green fest."

Paul Shannon - Jehlen (Somerville)

Got about 50 for Jehlen (n. cambrdige, Somerville Medford) on Saturday all afternoon split between meadowglen mall and davis square plus another 15 or so fo others, plus another volunteer with me got about 15 I think for Jehlen. SECURITY AT MEADOWGLEN WOULD PREFER THAT WE USE A TABLE THEY HAVE INSIDE THE MALL TO PETITION rather than be at the outside door. So I have the contact information to set that up for any day if someone wants to try it. I won’t be around this Saturday but will do the farmers market in davis square for a few hours (unless it rains) on wed.

Becky Pierce - Hart (Dorchester)

June 6: Today I took 606 more Hart signatures to the Boston Election Dept. at City Hall (Thanks to the 22-person Dorchester Day Parade team!!!), bringing our total turned in to 1259, well over half our goal of 2000. This will probably bring our validated total to over 800 validated (judging by our fluctuating validation rates the last 3 times). This is two thirds of the 1200 total validated signatures we need.

My assessment of these results is: We need to work as hard as we can in the next two weeks to try to get the rest of them in. Getting them in BEFORE the July 1 final deadline will increase our chances of getting this on the ballot, because we can learn how many signatures have been invalidated in time to get more.

June 4: We got about 600 Hart district signatures yesterday at the Dot Day Parade, with 22 volunteers out along the 3-mile route, despite the smaller turnout than usual due to gloomy weather. So we're thrilled with that. I'm turning in all of 'em tomorrow

June 1: Today I took 230 more Hart signatures to the Boston Election Dept. at City Hall, bringing our total turned in to 653, about one third of our total goal.

Last week's batch of 252 had 201, or 80%, validated---a big improvement from the 66% rate of our first turn-in the week before. This raises our overall validation rate so far to a respectable 74%.

Other good news: I learned from the Secretary of State's office, who we take the petitions to after they are certified, that they do NOT reject whole sheets due to stray marks, coffee stains, or cross-outs---because this is a public policy question referendum, which has less strict rules than binding initiative questions and candidate nomination petitions; and because this type of referendum is not subject to challenges from political enemies wanting to keep it off the ballot, the way the other 2 categories are. The Secretary of State's office accepted all of the signatures I turned in to them today, despite some minor irregularities that they had told me earlier might or would be a problem.

TALLY AND INTERIM GOALS INFO:

653 = total number of Hart signatures turned in to City hall so far (393 DPP; 56, 25% Coalition; 181 NEU4J; 23 MAHA)
91 = total Chang-Diaz signatures turned in so far by those 4 groups (DPP, NEU4J, 25% Coalition, MAHA---these are the groups in the Hart District Referendum Campaign Group.)

We're hoping to reach the 1000-signature mid-point goal on Sunday (June 3), when DPP and NEU4J are working the Dorchester Day Parade masses, and the 25% Coalition will be at the Bikes Not Bombs Green Roots Festival.

I think we will need a lot of hard work in the remaining 4 weeks to make our 2000 signature goal.
I think we need to keep doing what we're doing, but think up more ideas for getting our numbers up, and to all plan to keep working on this as much as we can up to and including Sunday July 1. (July 2 is the last day to turn in signatures to me; July 3 is the last day they can be turned in to City Hall.)

The goals groups have set do not add up to 2000, so that's something we may have to deal with:

---DPP goal: 1000
---NEU4J goal: 300
---25% Coalition: no goal set, but 100-150 each for Hart and Chang-Diaz is a reasonable prediction
---MAHA: no goal set
---Steve Laverty of Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT) set an incredibly ambitious goal in 4 figures, for what he wants to do in South Boston, but was delayed in starting by illness, so he hasn't gotten a realistic idea yet of what he and a couple of his South Boston friends will be able to do. Maybe they will make up the 500 or so signatures that we don't yet have a plan for.

Cole Harrison

Convention: The Peace Action team distributed 2,500 Referendum flyers at the Democratic State Convention June 2. We got about 50 signatures there but there were problems with some forms filled out incorrectly. Several volunteers signed up to help.

Cambridge: John Maher got 35 at the Cambridge Public Library on June 2 before the rain. We gathered about 45 on Tuesday afternoon at the library and near Central Sq.

Green Roots: We got 48 signatures, about half of them for Chang-Diaz, at the Green Roots Festival in JP on June 3.

Sunny Robinson, Gloucester

Going fine on Cape Ann. Carrying petitions every where we go, plus had good reception at a UU church on Sunday. We have the goal to be done by June 15th as some of us are then away.

Barbara Boltz, Arlington

Still waiting for Belmont to certify signatures. We are nearly there -- need only 25 more certified in the 23rd & should be done or close in the 24th. We'll have a final push this weekend.

Maggie Constan, Milton

We have two more people collecting signatures, seven in all with the expectation that they will each get 3 petitions signed. The trouble I'm having is with the newly elected (and poorly informed about petition signing even though she has assisted the Town Clerk for 4 years) Town Clerk who has not gotten back to me with basic questions I asked her personally three weeks ago. I've been advised to check with a selectman to see if he can inspire her to do her job. She has not returned or made any comments about three petitions I handed in two weeks ago, either. Since I will be away for 10 days, I have asked other members to pinch hit for me.

Ann Glick, Newton

In Newton we have 468 signatures certified. We have a big event on Sunday. Village Day which will bring out 100's of people will be from 12pm to 5. It is in Newton Highlands on Lincoln Street right off Route 9. We need as many people as possible to get signatures. Call or e-mail for more information or to help. 617 332-9016

We still have more to get certified but we are getting there.

Philip Czachorowski, Walpole

We have gathered 119 signatures for Rep. Roger’s district to date and will be submitting them to the Town Clerks this week. Unfortunately we were not able to gather signatures last Saturday because of the rain but will continue this weekend.

Rachel Tedesco - Southeastern Mass. area

New Bedford area – 11th Bristol District. It’s been a slow week because of my continuing illness and rain, although I’m better and the rain’s gone! Got only 11 signatures at 2 locations on Thursday. Good news: I recruited a volunteer from the First Unitarian Church of New Bedford and met with her today to hand her campaign materials. She seemed enthusiastic and hopes to get other volunteers.

Last week, I picked up the registered voter list (on CD-ROM) at New Bedford City Hall. Worked on the file and managed to get it into a usable spreadsheet format. I can now sort by wards, precincts and streets so we can target voters in specific neighborhoods.

9th Bristol – Dartmouth & New Bedford, Ward 3, Ptcs. D-F. Rev. Eric Wasileski, pastor of Smith Neck Friends Meeting (SNFM) in Dartmouth, has jumped in. He gave a talk on the campaign at last Sunday’s meeting and recruited volunteers. He’s collecting signatures himself and reports 20 collected so far. At least one volunteer from SNFM may help Maryellen Kurkulos’ efforts in 8th Bristol… specifically in Westport. A volunteer from the Fairhaven UU church who lives in Dartmouth will also help.

5th Bristol District – Taunton (Ward 6). John Colbert, the Taunton volunteer in last week’s report, decided it was more than he could take on and withdrew. I also had a potential volunteer in Ward 6, but she decided she could only do a little. I also missed the annual Taunton River Festival on Sunday (the rain date) because I found out about it too late. But it did occur to me to get in touch with the sponsor, the Neighborhood Corp. in Taunton to see if they’d help with the campaign. (www.neighborhoodcorp.org) They helped in previously with the “Vote No on 2” campaign to protect the State’s affordable housing law. I’ll call their Community Relations Director tomorrow.

8th Plymouth - Bridgewater/Raynham - On hold until I get other districts going. May have one or two volunteers, but not certain. The others had dropped out.

I hope my effort to recruit volunteers pays off in the coming week.