City Hall

O'Brien: Conlin Misrepresented Number of Anti-Tunnel Signatures

By Erica C. Barnett May 26, 2011

City council member Mike O'Brien clarifies a claim his colleague, council president Richard Conlin, made on his blog this week regarding the deep-bore tunnel referendum. In the post, Conlin said that not only would an August vote on a section of legislation the council adopted on the tunnel be meaningless, the campaign for the referendum, "led by Mayor McGinn[,] paid a signature gathering firm $58,000 to gather 19,000 valid signatures. (Tunnel opponents have used a higher figure of 29,000 total signatures gathered.)

O'Brien points out that King County Elections counted signatures only until they reached a threshold of 10 percent more than are required to qualify for the ballot, then stopped counting, standard practice when counting signatures for referendum and initiative campaigns.

"There were thousands that were never verified when they stopped because it wasn't worth their time or money to keep counting just for fun," O'Brien says.

"The number Conlin is quoting is the number they stopped counting at, but it doesn't reflect the total valid signatures. We will never know that for sure."

O'Brien is the council's only remaining tunnel opponent.
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