Drive to change city government pays solicitors up to $1 a name
SHERMAN; The News Tribune
Tacoma, WA - Sponsors of a move to change Tacoma's city government
are paying as much as $1 per signature to people they've hired to
stand in public places asking registered voters to sign petitions.
They need valid signatures from at least 7,029 registered Tacoma
voters to get the issue on the ballot. They expect to collect at least
10,000 signatures and turn them in a month from today - July 7 - in
order to put the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.
They hope to get 12,000 names, just for good measure.
The group, known as Time For A Change, wants to throw out the appointed
city manager form of government and replace it with the strong mayor
form, in which an elected mayor is the city's chief executive officer.
If their proposed city charter change makes the ballot and is approved,
the City Council would shrink by two members on Jan. 1 and Mayor Bill
Baarsma would take over the reins of the city.
The drive began amid questions about City Manager Ray Corpuz's leadership
and management decisions after Police Chief David Brame killed his
wife and committed suicide.
"We're frantically working," petition drive organizer Sherry
Bockwinkel said Friday. "We're doing what it takes six months
to do in two months."
Bockwinkel said the drive is "on target" but she refused
to divulge how many signatures have been gathered. That's bad strategy,
Because it takes more time to gather signatures from the small pool
of voters registered only in Tacoma, as opposed to a statewide drive,
the campaign is paying some gatherers $1 per name, Bockwinkel said.
Treasurer Rob Chatham said the campaign "is pretty grass-roots,"
with mostly small donations and none over about $100.
He hadn't compiled the latest income and expense numbers Friday afternoon,
so he didn't want to say how much money the campaign has raised. Its
next report to the Public Disclosure Commission is due next week.