Problem with ballpark petition has some on edge

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Submitted: Sat, 07/07/2012 - 3:38am
Updated: Mon, 07/09/2012 - 6:35pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — City officials have asked the New Hanover County Board of Elections to further analyze more than 160 names on the taxpayer-funded ballpark petition.

Elections Director Marvin McFadyen says the city has called 165 names from the petition into question. McFadyen says 104 of the names on the petition have questionable signatures, and 61 of them have incorrect dates of birth.

Josh Fulton, one of the petition organizers, was more than a little perplexed at the news that his petition was again short of signatures because of verification.

“We had been told it was the Board of Elections’ sole duty to verify the signatures, and now it seems like the city is trying to take a backdoor route to verifying them themselves,” Fulton said.

We reached out the City Council for input. We got a comment from Charlie Rivenbark referring to an incident two weeks ago when he told one of our reports he was out of town and ran into our GM a little later that day.

“What’s your bosses name? Pickey or Hickey? Why don’t you have him give me a call,” Rivenbark said. “He chose to go online and call me a liar and avoiding you, and I didn’t appreciate that, so why don’t you have him call me, and I’ll give him my answer, OK?”

Meantime Fulton and his group plan to keep collecting signatures until they can verify the correct number.


  • 1981duke says:

    The Lottery gave Millions to schools and County systems in 2011.Far ahead of projections,and you can see who got funds,and how much as each County is broken down.

  • 1981duke says:

    So,everyone gets one,use it wisely.
    The stadium,Braves,Multi-Use facility is a great thing for Wilmington.

  • Willard says:

    Instead of lashing out at WWAY because they were told he was out of town and then later ran into him at a local business, Rivenbark should suck it up and move on. Unless he wants to keep bringing up that story. And that’s politics 101, when you’re caught, talk about something else. As for the petition signatures, take them for what they are and put the question to the voters. Any attempt to thwart that referendum will be viewed by many as a cheap end-run to avoid showing voters the respect of asking them if they want 30 or 40 million of their tax dollars spent over the next few decades to provide a real estate gravy train for one of the richest sports companies in America. A company that by all accounts should be able to pay their own way but apparently gets rich by making taxpayers foot their bills. And if the voters feel that’s worth the expense, then so be it. Let them vote on it. Taxpayers are the ones paying the bills. The ones funding City government. Sure, small financial decisions shouldn’t require a referendum every time there’s a decision to be made, but when the Council is considering obligating it’s taxpayers to 30 or 40 million over a number of years, that’s entirely different than voting to fund paving a road or replacing water lines for a few hundred thousand or a million dollars.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Charlie got caught in a lie and now he’s being childish about it. Is that what you citizens of Wilmington really want in a “leader”?

  • Rick Wilson says:

    Isn’t it time for some peoples sense of entitlement to end. The notion that the majority of the citizens do not know what is best is just wrong. The people that want a few to make all decisions takes this country away from democracy and towards a dictatorship. Government was set up to serve all of the people. Taxes are supposed to be collected to fund things that benefit ALL of the people. Baseball stadiums do not benefit all of the people. With all the arguments surrounding this stadium, the one thing I have not heard from the proponents of this project is what part of the so called profits will pay for it. Mandalay and the Braves will pay rent. Mandalay and the Braves will put money into a fund for upkeep. Neither of these payments will even cover the interest on the loan(s), much less pay down the original debt. The claims of massive amounts of new sales tax revenue have not been ear marked to pay for the stadium. All the businesses that are supposed to receive windfall profits will not be required to chip in extra to pay for the stadium. If this is passed, the tax payers will be the ones to pay for this stadium, and Mandalay, the Braves, their billionaire owner, and maybe some other businesses benefit. Government and private industry do not need to be business partners. If these stadiums can not stand on their own without tax payer funding, they need to become extinct. Why is it the few feel entitled to force the many to pay for their pet projects? If the bond is passed to fund this stadium, rest assured the tax payers will pay the bill. The government will find other things to waste the “profits” on. Will there be any guarantees that the city government will be required to apply the rent toward the principle on the loan? Anyone remember the promises of the “EDUCATION LOTTERY?” Is did not take the government officials very long to divert money from this fund to other areas. We also have one of the highest gas taxes in the nation. I think most can agree that our roads are not even close to being some of the best in the nation. I would love to see a complete audit, on the state and local level, where the government officials are required to account for all money spent down to the penny. With this information in hand, then we could see if taxes needed to be raised, or if people needed to be prosecuted for misappropriation of funds. This baseball stadium project is a farce. The people who will benefit will pay very little/if any of the cost. This is a great deal if you happen to be one of the “entitled.”

  • Rick Wilson says:

    The Education lottery was supposed to be for education period. The schools are still in a bind, so shove your exceeded projections comment. This is another classic example of what government says and what government does is two different things.

  • justin says:

    So, 164 signatures out of how many? The story is worthless with no reference to the actual number on the petition. Was it 164 out of 180 signatures? Or maybe 164 out of 25,000? C’mon folks – basic who, what, where, when and why…Don’t worry, your competition made the very same mistake….pitiful.

  • Old Man says:

    …as long as it put the petition below the requirement for 25% of registered voters voting in the last election. AND it shouldn’t matter, since the petition should be rejected in total, and the organizers made to start over, since they can’t play by the rules they demand the City follow. A full 25% of the original signatures were fraudulent, and after two do-overs (they shouldn’t have been given even one, much less two)they still don’t have enough. Additionally, no affidavit, as required by the City Charter. These idiots just want forgiveness after forgiveness for their incompetence, when they really don’t care about the ballpark. All they really want is to embarrass the folks who won over them in the last election.

  • Guest-of-the-day says:

    from city officials. They refused to clarify ANOTHER serious issue where they don’t accept the decision of the established authority and insist on having their way at extra expense of TAX PAYER dollars. These people have repeatedly proven that the TAX PAYERS money is THEIR private piggy bank when it comes to furthering their exclusive agenda on the spending of that money.

    And why didn’t Rivenbark take this golden opportunity to explain WHY he looked like a liar directly to the people when he told WWAYTV he was out of town when he clearly wasn’t?

  • Guest1946 says:

    Most likely this was the city’s plan all the time to overturn the will of the people. They went along with the petition process too willingly. A great majority do not want the ball park, what part of this do they not understand? Are the city leaders not supposed to consider this fact?

  • Vog46 says:

    I wonder how the city can question the BOE? This would set a bad precedent if the BOE allows this type of questioning.
    Second – Ben Josh – If you are collecting more signatures please tell us where you will be so that we can sign this petition. Both your petition and the city surveys were limited in who got to view them or respond to them. This has lead the pro baseball side to claim everyone wants this stadium and the anti stadium foes to claim THEY are the majority.
    I do NOT listen to local radio nor do I subscribe to the Star News. Please let us know where you will be with this petition.

    Thanks and
    Best Regards

  • The Realist says:

    I love baseball. I played baseball. Having a baseball team in this area would provide fun and entertainment for young and old alike. But there is one thing the baseball people are overlooking. Wilmington has, not so quietly, become the “anti” capital of North Carolina. Somehow Wilmington, with it’s southern charm and hospitality, cannot standup to the “anti” minority. The wackos, extremist, and tea-bagger politicians, don’t know what they want, but they do know they don’t want you to have what you want. Please take your baseball somewhere else. Wilmington does not deserve a baseball team.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    This is getting crazy. Ballpark aside, for the moment, what’s with the city council (just can’t put caps on that anymore) vs Democracy?

    I have a huge problem with elected officials ignoring their electorate. Why wouldn’t they welcome with open arms any referendum that would clearly state the majority’s opinion, whatever that was? That’s supposed to be their primary directive. Instead, they’re fighting tooth and nail to suppress it.

    As to charlie rivenbark (also no caps deserved here), just disgusting. He get’s caught with his pants down and then he goes on the offensive? He was caught being a liar and HE doesn’t appreciate that? How about the voters not appreciating voting for someone who turns out to BE a liar!

    It’s time to ask some basic questions:
    – Why does Wilmington’s city council no longer represent their voters?
    – Why would anyone vote them back into office when their term expires?
    – If they’re so adamant about suppressing the will of the people, what kind of financial back-door deal are thy going to be the recipient of if this stadium project becomes a reality?

    We just celebrated the Fourth of July. The song phrase “Home of the brave … and the land of the free” comes to mind.

    That was never intended to be translated in “the home of the atlanta braves (no caps here either), and the land of the “insiders on the city council”.

  • frontpaige says:

    The Board of Elections verified the signatures. This petition certainly got more scrutiny than voters at the ballot box. No identification to vote, yet if the residents & voters want to decide how their tax money is spend by voting on the ballot, bring out the bloodhounds. This should go on the ballot and the voters should decide how their tax money is spend on such a expensive, long term, and questionable

  • Guest2020 says:

    The Board of Elections doesn’t even verify the identities of people who register. They verify the addresses of people who register. I could send in ten applications for registration and as long as I acknowledge any mail the Board sends, then I can get a voter registration card.

  • Guest757 says:

    I just can’t understand why our city leaders just can’t do what they were elected to do… for the better of the people of Wilmington. The people of Wilmington can’t afford higher taxes..Why is so hard to see that. Our city leaders have to listen… or come Nov. they will NOT have a job.. and if they get voted back in then the people of Wilmington deserve what they get…

    People you can make the difference… Just get out and VOTE !!!

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