It didn't take long for opponents of the lease agreement with Greg Jamison to make good on their threat to gather signatures for a referendum. But there are many reasons Coyotes fans should believe that this effort can be beaten again.
Phoenix Coyotes fans did not have to wait long for the delaying tactics to begin anew. Today, Sonu Munshi of the Arizona Republic confirmed that the "Back to Sanity" Political Action Committee pulled papers to gather signatures for a referendum on Tuesday's 4-2 vote by the Glendale City Council to enter into the revised lease agreement with Coyotes suitor Greg Jamison. While Coyotes fans should be aware of this effort, there are quite a few reasons to believe that this referendum has even bleaker chances than the one that fell short four months ago.
The first and biggest reason to believe that this referendum will have trouble succeeding is the requirements have changed, for the better if you are a Coyotes fan. Last time, the election that was used to determine the amount of signatures required was the 2010 Mayoral Election. In that election, 18,620 people cast votes, which meant the previous referendum needed 1,862 valid signatures in order to make the ballot in November. As we reported in July, Ken Jones and Joe Cobb failed to even get that many. This time around, things will be even harder. Because this was a Presidential Election, and because the mayoral race went to the general election ballot instead of the normal primary ballot, the amount of people who voted in this latest citywide election is dramatically higher than it was back in 2010. According to the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, 58,940 people voted for mayor. 10% of that, which is what the Glendale City Charter requires for referendums on city actions, is 5,894. So Ken Jones' PAC will have to improve their signature collection total by about 500% off of their first attempt. That's a pretty tall order.
As if the signature requirements weren't difficult enough, the timing of this referendum will further hamper the efforts of Back to Sanity PAC to place the Jamison lease agreement on the ballot. First of all, coming off of a contentious Presidential Election, it's probably safe to say there are a lot of burned out people who want to get away from politics for a little while. Asking voters to sign another petition this soon after an election will undoubtedly turn off many people who have other things on their minds, like holiday shopping. Finally, even if the PAC collects enough signatures, the referendum would be placed on the next regular election ballot, in 2014. Asking people to sign a petition for a vote in November is difficult, but asking people to sign a petition for a vote that will occur 2 years from now is even tougher.
It's fitting that the name "Back to Sanity" PAC evokes memories of Jon Stewart on the National Mall in D.C., because this effort is laughable, especially since Coyotes fans have proven time and time again that their passion, determination, and never-say-die attitude can turn even the most vitriolic naysayers into true believers. Though we aren't out of the woods yet, Coyotes fans should take heart, fight on, and look forward to the day when we all can put ridiculous legal battles behind us.
UPDATE: If you are interested in reviewing the vote totals yourself, you can look at the official vote canvass here.