August 9, 2011
Fort Ord Rec Users submitted roughly 18,000 signatures to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors and the Monterey County Elections Department on Tuesday, nearly double the requirement to get a referendum on the June 2012 ballot that would overturn County Board of Supervisors' approval of the Whispering Oaks business park and Monterey-Salinas Transit headquarters.
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in July to approve the project, departing from the Planning Commission's unanimous rejection. Activists with forU and LandWatch, along with County Supervisor Jane Parker and Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado, responded by gathering signatures for a referendum.
“The public’s enthusiasm in signing this petition is a clear message," said Parker, the lone dissenting supervisor, in a statement. "If the Board of Supervisors does not rescind its decision to develop these oak woodlands, the voters want an opportunity to make that determination themselves."
"This parcel is integral to the connection of open space parcels between the coast and the interior," forU Founding Member Gail Morton said.
Elections Department staff will count and verify petitioner signatures within 30 business days, and then give the Board of Supervisors a chance to reconsider their approval of the project.
If the Board doesn't rescind the project approval, a referendum will appear on the June 2012 ballot, when supervisors Parker, Fernando Armenta and Dave Potter are up for re-election.
Linda Tulett, registrar of voters, estimates the referendum would cost an additional $200,000, on top of the $700,000 general election.