How many times have you heard El Dorado County Business Owners and the chambers of commerce asking us to shop local? Don’t drive down the hill to shop elsewhere. You can find everything you need right here in your community. I lost count of the amount of “shop local” campaigns that I have personally supported and I’m sure I am not alone. We all should make an effort to patronize our community businesses first because, that’s what being part of a community is all about.
Well now “We the Community” need your help? I will try to make this story short and to the point. This is a sad but true account of events that have taken place while the local volunteers for the 1-2-3 Green-Yellow-Purple petitions have been collecting signatures to get these three initiatives on the November ballot. I want to preface this by saying these volunteers are part of your community. We are your neighbors. We live and shop here and some of us work here. We are trying to “Protect Your Rural Lifestyle and Quality of Life” from big development trying to come in and mow over El Dorado County and urbanize it like they did in Folsom, Elk Grove and Sacramento, just to name a few. We are not anti-growth. We want reasonable, sustainable growth that fits in with the existing community we all enjoy. That’s why we all live here, isn’t it? This story is about heroes vs. villains: local El Dorado County volunteers vs. paid out-of-county petitioners.
The villains: Region Builders of Sacramento sent their professional petitioners to do their bidding in El Dorado County in March and April. Their petition gatherers flooded every business establishment in “your county” to get your signatures. They were everywhere. I’m sure you encountered them at some place or another. They were pushy and obnoxious, misleading, confusing and blatantly lying to this community about what their petitions would do for you. This was all in an effort just to get your signature, meet their goal to get on the November ballot and make money. You see, they were being well paid for every signature they received. Many times over the two months.
The Heroes, local volunteers encountered the villains, builders petitioners, while gathering signatures and they were verbally harassed and abused by them. They interrupted their conversations and even tried to pick fights. The villains copied the heroes’ words and confused and frustrated the voters. It became a battlefield in EDC. So much so that some of the local businesses were getting complaints from their customers about pushy petitioners and some businesses started asking all of us (heroes and villains) to leave and not petition their customers.
So out of respect, the local volunteers honored the businesses’ requests who asked them not to petition in front of their stores, but alas the paid petitioners did not. They knew their rights to petition under the First Amendment in a public place would prevail in a court of law, so they continued to gather signatures even after being asked several times by the businesses to leave until they achieved their goal. The developers’ villains are now gone, hooray, but the heroes are left with a “poisoned well.”
So that’s why I am asking for this community to help. We realize the damage that’s been done. Being defeated is a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. We are not giving up and neither should you. This is your home and your community.
Here are the facts: We are quickly running out of time to collect 3,000 more signatures to qualify to get on the November ballot. How can you help?
First: You can help by not shutting us out.
Second: You can sign the 1-2-3 Green-Yellow-Purple petitions if you haven’t.
Third: You can ask your El Dorado County family, friends and neighbors to sign the petitions. Just ask and we will get petitions to you. We also have voter registration forms for those not registered yet who want to vote in the November election.
Fourth: We need more signing locations. If you are a business who wants to help by becoming a designated petition signing location? Call 530-306-2329 to get on the roster.
Remember, “El Dorado County is your community” and together we can work to keep it beautifully rural. For more information visit lvc-edc.org.