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Thousand Oaks : Councilman Claims Petition Mishandled

A Thousand Oaks city councilman has charged that signatures on petitions submitted by opponents of development of the former Jungleland site were illegally obtained.

City Clerk Nancy Dillon said she received a complaint from Councilman Bob Lewis about signatures obtained by the Committee for Government by the People and for the People.

Lewis told Dillon that a petition was posted on a condominium mailbox, in violation of state laws that require a petition to be accompanied by the person circulating it, she said.

Joan Gorner, a spokeswoman with Committee for Government, said petition-gatherers were told that they had to accompany petitions.

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“I would certainly want to eliminate those signatures if they were illegally gotten,” she said.

Committee members are trying to persuade the city to stop the $63-million project, which would build a new city hall and arts auditorium at the site of a former wild animal park.

The group wants to place a measure on the ballot to forbid the use of revenues from the sale of city property for the development of the new civic center at Jungleland.

Petitions bearing 7,913 signatures were submitted last week to the county Registrar of Voters for verification. The group needed 5,553 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

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Mayor Frank Schillo said he has received some complaints from people who said petition-gatherers had misrepresented the purpose of the measure when asking for signatures.

“They signed a petition which they thought was supporting Jungleland,” he said.

City Atty. Mark G. Sellers has said the ballot measure is illegal because the decision to go forward with the project was made nearly two years ago and opponents did not file a challenge within 30 days after the City Council voted.


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