by Jim Nintzel
The Weekly mentioned a few weeks ago that the marquee issue of this year’s city election could the initiative to ban those traffic cameras that bust speeders and drivers who run red lights—if it made the ballot.
It’s a good thing we qualified the story—because city officials today rejected the initiative because it does not enough signatures to make the November ballot.
Former state lawmaker John Kromko needed 12,730 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot and he turned in more 22,000 signatures.
But a legally required random check of 5 percent of the signatures by the Pima County Recorder’s Office showed that only 55 percent of the signatures were valid. Based on that rate, Kromko had only 11,124 valid signatures, according to City Clerk Roger Randolph.
“I just issued a certificate of insufficiency to the Mayor and Council and to John,” Randolph told The Weekly this afternoon.
Pima County Voter Registrar Chris Roads told The Range that of the 1,032 signatures the office checked, only 569 were registered Tucson voters.
Roads said that 220 of the bad signatures came from people who were not registered to vote (at least in Pima County), while another 181 came from outside Tucson’s city limits. The remainder were rejected for various technical reasons.
Kromko told The Range today that he was still looking into why the signatures were rejected, but he expected it would be hard to reverse the decision to toss his petitions.
“It looks like we didn’t make it,” Kromko said. “It looks like I can’t challenge this. What killed us was people not registered. It’s hard to fight that one.”
Kromko has had some luck getting initiatives on the ballot in the past, such as an unsuccessful effort to get voters to repeal the city’s trash-collection fee and block delivery of treated effluent to households.
But his signature-collection efforts have often been troubled; a 2008 run for the Arizona Legislature resulted in Kromko facing criminal charges over signatures on his nominating petitions and Kromko eventually pled guilty to forgery charges rather than risk going to trial and spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Kromko said he was mad that he didn’t have enough signatures but took pride in his all-volunteer effort.
“It’s been many years since I’ve been able to get anything on the ballot without paying at least some people,” Kromko said.