I am a professional paid signature gatherer working on the Josh Newman recall petition. I have seen two letters attempting to discredit petitioners appear in the past week. One letter [“Newman recall not justified,” Letters, May 24] asserts that “political operatives” from outside the district, and their “out-of-area paid signature gatherers,” are attempting to “thwart the will of local voters and turn Orange County into a political circus.”
The second letter [“You lost, get over it,” Letters, May 26] compares petitioners to “locusts.” The letter-writer goes on to claim that petition “circulators are purposely deceiving the public” and presenting a “pack of lies and exaggerations.”
It is been my experience that people opposed to an issue, like this Josh Newman recall, often attempt to discredit signature gatherers in order to prevent an issue from getting on the ballot. Both writers made blanket statements that are not accurate. The claim that we are all from out of the area is not true. Many petitioners are local residents. The assertion that we are all purposely misrepresenting the issues is also unfair. Like any profession, we do have some less conscientious individuals but the majority of us are very clear about what this recall is about, and that it does not affect the gas tax and registration fee increases in any way.
Referring to petitioners as locusts overlooks the fact that petitioners are presenting the public with an opportunity to get an issue on the ballot. The right of the public to petition the government for a redress of grievances is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is unfortunate that some individuals have little awareness or respect for that right.
Finally, I might add, signature gatherers are very happy with the overwhelmingly positive response to the Josh Newman recall issue. Most voters are happy to sign.
— Vivian Marlene Dunbar, Colton
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