The big news on the Town Center petition effort has already been well blogged before I found my way to the St. Augustine Beach Starbucks this morning. The godfather of HoCo blogging, Mr. Hedgehog, broke the news last night in this post. This morning I read this account by Larry Carson in The Sun.
“According to board figures, 3,491 names were submitted on Friday, and 2,343 have been reviewed. Of those, 901 were invalid — a 38 percent rejection rate. With just 1,148 names left to review, 1,058 would need to be valid to qualify for the next step, which would equal an 8 percent rejection rate.”
Let’s just say I am not surprised. If this effort truly had the backing of the majority in HoCo there would have been more people on the streets peddling petitions.
So is it over?
Technically yes. I doubt though that those who refused to accept the results of five years of collaborative community effort will continue to insist that the community interest was somehow hijacked by a developer funded conspiracy.
Columbia is extremely lucky. If General Growth Properties had not come along and acquired The Rouse Company the future of Town Center would have been much different and not necessarily in a good way. There were lots of heroes in this effort and that will be the subject of a later post.
I have no doubt that Russ Swatek will claim that the deck was stacked against him and that the referendum process in HoCo is severely flawed and a threat to our democratic institutions. He is wrong of course but that never stopped him and others from claiming otherwise when faced with defeat.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in Novembers election. My hunch right now is that it will fade into irrelevance.