Save the Trails Referendum Falls Short

A summary of the Douglas Avenue right-of-way petition effort.

A summary of the Douglas Avenue right-of-way petition effort.


At this writing we have 2,210 signatures in hand, short of the 2,475 required. I have word of a few more sheets straggling in but have advised that there is no hurry. We will not be submitting the signatures for referendum. Instead, we will process them into an advisory submission to the council so they can see where their constituents stand on this issue.

I want to thank the many citizens who rose to the occasion to sign the petition and gather signatures. We were up against some incredible odds. I have qualified two other referenda in the past, one for a similar right-of-way scam around Hoag’s Pond, and another seeking to overturn freebie water rates for Georgia-Pacific. Neither was beset by such overwhelming obstacles.

City Hall's timing was strategic, forcing the referendum to proceed in the midst of summer vacations and back to school plans. The mayor squandered weeks by not being forthright about his intentions. But for that, we would clearly have succeeded, despite the unprecedented pandemic and surging variant that kept a lot of otherwise civic minded folk at home and away from crowds. Many petitions arrived with only two or three signatures from the same household. 

Given these extreme circumstances, we did quite a remarkable job. Judging by the enthusiasm and remarks of signatories, we have engaged the public’s interest and there will be support moving forward as we work to shape city policy on undeveloped right-of-ways.

And don’t worry, we’re not done here yet. We’ll continue to work to protect this trail and other potential future trails. Stay tuned for a more thoroughgoing  dissection of pandemic petitioning in the age of infill under Mayor Fleetwood’s administration.

Thanks again, everyone!

About Tip Johnson

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Tip Johnson is a longtime citizen interest advocate with a record of public achievement projects for good government and the environment. A lifelong student of government, Tip served two terms [...]

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