City Clerk: Petition organizers should have asked for help


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington has rejected a the petition against a taxpayer funded ballpark. Officials say there was not a required affidavit with the thousands of signatures.

“To just dismiss 4,000 people that signed our petition, just with the wave of a hand, it’s just a huge slap in the face,” petition organizer Ben McCoy said.

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All the work to get a petition signed against a taxpayer funded ballpark may have been for naught.Tuesday night Wilmington City Council said McCoy and Josh Fulton’s petition was invalid because they did not have a required affidavit along with questions about some of the signatures.

McCoy and Fulton say they tried to talk with city officials about the process. Adding that they went to City Attorney Bill Wolak and were told to seek other legal counsel. City Officials say they may have asked the wrong questions to the wrong people.

“If they would have come in and said, ‘Ms. Sidbury, you know we’re new at this, do you have a moment? Can you take a look at this and let us know maybe if we’re missing something?’ It’s called pulling out the rules and putting it side by side, and it jumps right out at you,” City Clerk Penelope Spicer-Sidbury said.

Although the exact language of that petition will not be on the November ballot, the City Clerk says the people will be heard, as City Council is looking at a bond referendum to fund the baseball stadium.

“The people do want to be heard, and so I think that’s why they (City Council) are going to go there,” Spicer-Sidbury said. “They’re going to have a special meeting on the 24th. Normally last night would have been the last meeting for the month of July, but they’re willing to do that, they’re willing to do the extra work.”

Fulton wants to see how things play out.

“I think we’re going to wait and see how it turns out on the November ballot, and then if the city chooses to pursue it through another method, then we could take it to court,” he said.

Wilmington City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss the baseball bond referendum on July 24, followed by an August 7 public hearing.