Cheat Sheet on Petition Signatures
Total number of signatures collected by TrinityVote: 91,000
Of those, total number certified by City Secretary Deborah Watkins as valid: 52,500
Total number required by law to call a referendum on the Trinity Toll Road: 48,000
Surplus of certified signatures: 4,500
What the law cares about: How many good signatures are there
Total number of allegedly suspicious petition pages: 47
Total number of pages turned in: 10,000-plus
Maximum number of signatures that could be invalidated if all 47 pages were thrown out: 470
Total number of suspicious pages that were among the pages certified by Watkins: 0
Total good signatures if all 47 pages were thrown out: 52,500
Effect on the petition campaign and referendum if all 47 pages were thrown out: 0
Best inside political wrinkle: Watkins and City Attorney Tom Perkins both have confided to multiple council members that a claim of fraud leveled against the uncertified signatures can have no effect on the outcome because the “suspect” signatures are not among the certified signatures. But neither Watkins nor Perkins will issue a public statement conceding that the suspect signatures are not among the certified signatures.
Why? Pressure from Mayor Tom Leppert and the Dallas Citizens Council, who hope these charges will muddy up the TrinityVote campaign before it gets started.
Put another way: Watkins and Perkins serve at the pleasure of the city council. The entire city council is behind Leppert and against Angela Hunt on this deal. Watkins and Perkins are afraid to ruffle those feathers, even if they have to sacrifice a little personal integrity.
Result: Politics by criminal accusation
Most interesting little window for Jim Schutze to peek through: What this means about Leppert. Hey. Interesting, eh? Beneath those white gloves, Mr. Corporate Boardroom has some stinky pinkies, don’t he? --Jim Schutze
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