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FIRST ON 3: Ballpark petition has enough signatures, could go on November Ballot

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Ballpark petition has enough signatures, could go on November Ballot

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The New Hanover County Board of Elections says it has verified enough signatures on a petition against a tax-funded baseball stadium in Wilmington.

Elections Director Marvin McFayden said late this afternoon, his office verified 74 signatures today. That brings the total to 2,848.

The results are in. There are now enough signatures on the petition against a tax-funded ballpark to take the next step.

It will now go to Wilmington City Council, which must either adopt it or put it up for a public vote.

“I can't speak for council as a whole, but I don't think that anyone thought that they wouldn't come up with the number,” says City Councilman Neil Anderson.

Organizers submitted about 4,000 petition signatures to the board of elections last month, which was about 1,200 more than required. However, twice the board found there weren't enough verified signatures. Finally on Tuesday, the petition was complete.

“Our victory is in it going into a public vote, not the outcome of the vote,” said Ben McCoy, one of the petition organizers. “Our victory is in getting it on the ballot.”

“The jury is out for us until we know exactly what we're going to vote to adopt or to put on the ballot,” Anderson says.

McCoy guesses if left up to voters the ordinance would be a home run.

“It will be an eight to one vote in favor of our ordinance is my prediction,” he says.

Anderson says if they decide to put the ordinance to public vote, the city could possibly put a bond referendum on the ballot that would be an alternative to voters.

WWAY tried contacting Mayor Bill Saffo, but were not able to reach him for comment. Councilman Kevin O’Grady says he believes council will put the ordinance to a public vote and was confident citizens will vote against it because of its ambiguous language.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



already have baseball...I'm sure you attend the games :/


The City Council would not permit the acting City Attorney to address the exact wording issue with McCoy and Fulton. That was their right. The Right of Initiatve is a right that was given to the people of Wilmington by the previous City Council's. The Law and the process of Law have both been served. I for one signed the petition and am certain that my signature was not valid-why? Because I moved and neglected to change my address, therefore, while a voter, tax payer and resident my signature did not count. This entire mess started when the City entered into a contract with a local person to have him develop his property at the River Front, including a Baseball Stadium, and including Mandalay and the Braves. Had the City Council and Mayor placed the cards on the table so that intelligent people, voters and Tax Payers, Mr O'Grady and not Haters Mrs Maynes, none of this would be necessary. But no - the Mayor and City Council on 2/7/2012 entered into a tax payer/private agreement with Mandalay and the Braves. Within days the petition drive began which is the people's right. Now Mayor Saffo, yesterday, "wishes the people would have given the discovery a chance." Are you kidding. Pull the City Council minutes from the 2/7/2012 meeting and read the wording, proposals and promises for yourself. No need to listen to McCoy or Fulton or Mayor Saffo or the City Council. Just make up your own mind using facts.

Use their own minds?

That is why we have WWAY


What Will Council Do?
Will they pull the annexation rabbit out of their hat again and fight the people who oppose this?
Or will they just say well we can spend the election monies and let the citizens decide?

I wonder sometimes about our city council.
They try to FORCE people into the city so I wonder if they'll try to force this down out throats?

My guess is after the annexation snafu they'll adopt the resolution and NOT use any funds to build the stadium. At that point Atlanta pulls out of the proposal and berates city officials.
And that's all OK by me.
Because if we were THAT desirable a location Atlanta or another MiL-B team would've built the stadium themselves.........

but we shall see

Best Regards

They will force it down the

They will force it down the taxpayers' throats just as they did with the convention center. The difference being that there was a straightforward referendum concerning the convention center, with no ambiguous language, and the taxpayers voted against it twice. As you can see, the taxpayers got a convention center whether they liked it or not.

I do think that the ambiguous language that this petition proposes is going to gum up the works this time. If it had been limited to just this stadium, I think a majority of the taxpayers would vote against it. I think the language on this one is going to cause a lot of people to vote against it even if they are against a taxpayer funded stadium. I just don't think that vote will be a true representation of how the taxpayers feel about funding the stadium. And if it doesn't pass the Wilmington Idiot Council will use that to say that the taxpayers want to pay for the stadium.

What are you talking about?

The convention center was not on a ballot because taxpayers are not paying for it! It all comes from room occupancy taxes. If you live in a hotel, then I suppose you can say that you are not happy about it. But the State of NC decided that Wilmington could receive a portion of the room occupancy tax to be used only for the convention center.

They should vote---Baseball

The header says it all,if they are "true leaders".


first nail in the coffin of this fiasco that i predict will cost saffo his job .

One can only hope. I

One can only hope. I remember the last election there was a video clip with Saffo stating adamantly "There will be no ball park built with public funds"... now after closely watching this drama unfold we find out this project had long been in the works with funding coming from taxpayers! The man openly LIED to all of the citizens of the city & county without effort and I don't think it's the first time. To me, he is the absolute worst (or perhaps best) example of a self serving dishonest individual who has found his true calling... politics.

Unfortunately I'm not optimistic the petition will help because of voter apathy but one thing I am sure of is there's probably enough dots for some enterprising individual(s) to connect and find impropriety somewhere. Once the SBI is done cleaning up the local law enforcement perhaps they will be tipped to look at some of the events that have happened during his tenure. That being said he's not the only one but one of many that deserve some official scrutiny... and that is news I'd willingly accept a tax increase to watch.

Talk to me in November

As the header says

Thank you

I want to thank everyone involved in getting this petition going and doing the hard work of collecting names. I signed it and was happy to do so. Maybe now we have a way of stopping the city spenders in their tracks in the future. Thank you Thank you Thank you

Thank you for what...

The vote has not taken place,this is far from dead,far from dead.

your welcome.your welcome

Now tell us what will be your legacy?
I voted for something proactive?
I butchered a chance to change the area for the better?


You are truly a lost soul.

Lost soul?

Not with Baseball....


have ENOUGH leeches on the taxpayers of this area...we don't need a GIANT leech! Wilmington will NOT be better or worse because of a stupid baseball team! It's better or worse because of or lack of leadership!


That you think a baseball stadium would be part of a "legacy" is laughable. The chance to have a say in what your tax dollars are used for isn't a reach here. Why are a couple of you so against letting the people have a voice? You live in the wrong country comrade.....

A matter of opinion

That is just a matter of opinion. Because you believe it is a positive change, does not make it necessarily so. By the way it should read YOU'RE welcome not YOUR welcome.


thanks. . . hehehehe


Great, now it goes to a vote on IF this becomes an ordinance. I'll give it to them for finding this loophole, but it took you 2 chances to get 25% of people to sign it. What's the next petition going to be...I got it! Let's stop letting elected officials make decisions and let's make it so that the entire city budget has to be voted on. Hey, it's taxpayers money right? Let's make it so when a tire goes flat or when the police department needs money for new equipment that it goes to a vote. Let's see how long our ballots can be from now on. As I've said all along, let's see how this all plays out before we pass judgement on what will happen. This is a viable option to make the city money, but it takes everybody to help build our city into greatness. Fulton & McCoy are trying to stop everything they can in order to advance their own political agenda.


Clearly you have a problem with seeing the distinction between tax dollars for essential services and making long-term committments on behalf of tax payers for such a speculative venture. It is specifically for those reasons that this type of histrionic argument will fall flat. We are not talking about ruling by referendum, but at times the voice of all the people should be counted on more than a simple majority of city council.

When it get's down to name calling, personal attacks and such extremism, then apparently you have run out of intelligent arguments.

History Tells us

Josh and Ben and Justin do not do well in elections,lose by large amounts.
Why do they think they now will succeed.
Historically a vote a good thing for those wanting this!

1313, public safety is a

1313, public safety is a principal role of government in the form of police and fire protection. Building and subsidising a multi-million dollar sports venue for a low end minor league baseball team is not.

I think that Mayor Saffo is going to come out of this smelling like a rose. He is very astute to allow this measure to get on the ballot. McCoy and Fulton were also very astute in assuming the leadership of this opposition to the benefit of their own political futures. This is American politics, whether or not you like it.

This isn't doomsday, 1313. This is a great day showing that entrenched political interests are really subject to the will of the voters when there is sufficiently organized political will to act.

You may think that this stadium development is a viable option to make the city money. I happen to think not. Sorry you are upset that the decision to work this project will be in the hands of the voters.

Mr. Fulton, your time may be coming in the very near future. Comm. O'Grady's term expires this year. He'd be a good first to be replaced.

Not true.

There are no city council elections this year. They occur in odd numbered years.

Viable option to make the city money? ... Based on what?

- vi·a·ble/ˈvīəbəl/Adjective: 1.Capable of working successfully; feasible: "the proposed investment was economically viable".

No one, I repeat, no one has provided hard numbers to prove that.
Perhaps what you really meant was:

- con·jec·tur·al/kənˈjekCHərəl/Adjective: Based on or involving conjecture. Synonyms: presumptive - hypothetical

Keep pulling unsustainable statements out of your tailpipe and you'll be perceived as exactly what you've been calling others:

- id·i·ot/ˈidēət/Noun: 1.A stupid person.
Synonyms: fool - imbecile - blockhead - dunce - nitwit - dolt

By "let's see how this all plays out" I hope you meant plays out in the ballot box rather than plays out as defined by a select few. Anything other than that would be disrespectful of all of those people on both sides of the stadium issue who deserve to have a voice in an issue of this magnitude, not just Fulton and McCoy.

If taxpayers want the stadium they'll vote for it, if they don't, they won't. If you've got a problem with that, too bad.


I think your suggestion on voting on the pretty good

certifiable nut

My gosh, you're a certifiable nut. You are so out in left field you can't see what's going on. The citizens want our city brought up to codes with street repair, sewer and water pipes that don't cave in. We want the police and fire departments to have what they need, we want a handle on crime and drug use, we want downtown cleaned up and we want downtown safe. I could go on and on but honestly, I don't think you can comprehend anything. You talk about advancing their own political agenda.... what do they have to advance to? They aren't in political office. They want what we want. . which is what I've already listed and we DO NOT want to be told what's going on after the fact. After the next couple of elections this probably won't be a problem. We will get these 'spenders' of other's monies out of office. I still want to see a P & L on the convention center.

Finally Some Good News

I'm so glad this has finally been verified. Hopefully this will be enough of an obstacle that the Braves/Mandalay will just pack their bags and get out of town. This is a great day for the property owners of Wilmington, who need their hard-earned tax money to go to roads, schools, and emergency services, not some idiotic ball field that the majority of us will never set foot in.

Baseball Park

My wife and I have no children. Why should we pay for schools that we will never set a foot in?

If my tax $ pays for the ballpark, can I get free tickets?


Yes you do, because an educated population is a benefit to all in our community, less crime, less poverty, and thus less taxes to entitlements, etc. A baseball stadium funded by the city is not.

It is ridiculous to think the government, read taxpayers, should be in the baseball park business. Noone argues that a stadium would be cool. And if it's that cool, let a private person invest and make tons of money (yea right). Since you are in favor, why don't you write a check to the Braves and leave me out of it, mmkay?