Several people who worked to get signatures on an initiative petition pushed by former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle say they have not been paid what they are owed for their work.
The signature-gatherers were independent contractors who were promised $2.50 per valid signature by We the People Nevada, Angle’s group that is pushing a petition to limit property taxes, modeled on California’s Proposition 13.
In interviews, nine workers said they believed they were shorted. They all said they had gathered signatures for the three petitions backed by Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, and when those efforts finished, We the People signed them up.
“On the Adelson petitions, we were running validities of 80, 90 percent,” said Bernard Bryan, 34, of Las Vegas. “We know what we’re doing. We ask qualifying questions” to make sure the signers are registered voters.
But We the People claimed the validity rate was only around 30 percent to 40 percent, and paid the workers at a far lower rate.
“I turned in more than 400 signatures, but I only got $545,” 47-year-old Christy Stanton said. “They showed me the list of validity, and they had everybody down that way. If it was a different person each time, you could understand it. But we would go to the same places and ask the same questions to the same people. We knew what the validity was.”
Angle said she knew there were “complainers out there,” but denied that anyone was stiffed.
“We paid everyone, and we paid what we said we would,” she said.
Angle said her group checked every signature for validity, while other signatures were only spot-checked, accounting for her group finding lower validity rates.
“We stand by our verification, and we do have the records,” she said.
Angle denied her group lacked the funds to pay what it had promised. “We had the money. We were more than willing to pay, because we wanted those signatures.”
Angle, who is mounting a primary challenge to state Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said she’s optimistic her petition will be on the ballot despite problems with signatures. The group has gone to court to challenge the statutory signature gathering deadline, which it missed.
OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING
State Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, is staking out a not-so-liberal position on offshore drilling for oil as she mounts her run for Congress.
In a couple of interviews last week, Titus said she would lift the federal ban on offshore drilling and allow states to decide whether to allow drilling off their coastlines. That’s basically the position of Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Titus said she still opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but believes that, along with development of renewable energy, some additional domestic production could ease short-term pain at the pump.
“Let states decide on offshore drilling, as long as some of the royalties go to renewables and the oil is sold in the United States,” she said. “I come out of 20 years in the state Legislature, so I see it as states’ rights.”
Titus’ opponent, Republican Jon Porter, said last week that his approach to energy is a “three-point plan” consisting of conservation, renewables and domestic exploration, including in ANWR.
Titus got a boost last week with news that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved nearly $1 million in television advertising time on her behalf.
Documentation of the ad buy shows the committee plans to spend $916,000 on Titus, beginning in September.
The spending isn’t final, but it’s the latest of many indications that Titus’ race is a top priority for Democrats.
According to the Associated Press, the Democratic committee has reserved about $35 million in ad time for races including 19 Republican-held seats and a handful of Democratic incumbents.
VETS FOR FREEDOM
A Henderson woman is featured in an ad campaign by a veterans political action group.
“My son is fighting in Iraq,” Chere Pedersen says in the TV spot for Vets for Freedom.
The ads aren’t airing on broadcast stations in Nevada, but Nevada is one of 12 states where the group says it is building a grass-roots presence for its “Four Months, for Victory” campaign, which began July 4 and goes through Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
The group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is nonpartisan but sees itself as a counterweight to anti-war organizations like MoveOn.org.
The ad, titled “Finish the Job,” says “the surge worked” and “we need to finish the job, no matter who is president.”
“I wear my son’s picture around my neck on a dog tag, and people say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry,'” Pedersen said. “I say, ‘Why?’ He’s not sorry he’s over there. He’s proud to be serving.”
Pedersen, 51, said her son is a 21-year-old combat medic and Army sergeant on his second tour in Iraq.
She said the group plans on “pounding the pavement and spreading the word” about its message that the United States is winning the war.
“There are thousands of us who want to continue what we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, letting the military do the job without emotions getting in the way,” Pedersen said.
“We’re a silent majority. We’ve been quiet, but we’re not going to be quiet anymore.”
Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.