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UPDATE: Santa Clarita: Billboard petitions have sufficient signatures

Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures

Posted: May 5, 2014 11:44 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2014 3:19 p.m.

Electronic billboard opponents welcome the arrival Monday at City Hall of petitions aimed at reversing a Santa Clarita City Council decision on billboards. Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures on the billboard petitions. Signal photo by Austin Dave.


After estimating the number of signatures on 15 of 28 boxes of billboard petitions turned in at City Hall today, Santa Clarita city officials declared a minimim number of signatures had been collected to send the issue up to the next level: verification of those signatures by Los Angeles County officials.

"A Sheriff's (Department) van will transport all of the petitions to Los Angeles County offices in Norwalk, where each of the signatures submitted with the petitions will be verified by Los Angeles County staff," said a city news release issued shortly after 3 p.m. today.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved an ordinance in March that would remove more than 60 billboard structures in the center of the city in exchange for permission to construct three double-sided billboards on Santa Clarita Valley freeways.

Opponents of the plan circulated petitions calling for the council to reverse its decision or conduct a public vote on the matter.

Organizers say they collected 18,000 signatures of residents calling for the City Council to repeal the ordinance. Petitioners trying to reverse the city’s decision were required to gather at least 11,170 valid signatures, according to Gail Morgan, city spokeswoman.

Today, city staff were collecting and scrutinizing the petitions inside the Century Room at City Hall.

The county will verify each and every signature to ascertain the total number of valid signatures, Morgan said.

Typically, petitions should contain 30 percent more signatures than the number sought to allow for invalid entries, said Steve Petzold, one of the organizers of the petition drive.

The minimum requirement plus 30 percent would be 14,521 signatures.

“The rule of thumb for petitioners is that you need 25 to 30 percent over the minimum to be confident you’ll have a sufficient amount (verified),” he said.

The referendum petition seeks to force the city to either repeal an ordinance that allowed for the billboard deal or allow a public vote by the people on the issue.

The ordinance, approved by the Santa Clarita City Council in March, gave the go-ahead for a proposal from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to take down 62 billboard structures along the Metro right-of-way inside city limits in exchange for giving Metro the right to construct three, double-sided digital billboards on city-owned property off Interstate 5 and Highway 14.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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