March 31, 2009

Hey kids, sign the petition if you want

My Bristol Press colleague Bob Montgomery is a sweet man, but he doesn't know a thing about petitioning the government.
In his column yesterday, he raised the unnecessary question about whether people who are not registered voters in Bristol can sign the petition calling for the Park Board to name the new skatepark at Rockwell Park after Henry Waye, Jr.
The answer, of course, is that they sure can.
There are complicated -- unnecessarily complicated -- rules for signing petitions related to candidates and referenda. But there's no reason in the world that a petition asking for a skatepark to be named after someone has to follow those same ridiculously complex regulations.
In fact, there is a constitutional right for the people to petition their government. It doesn't say a word in there that would preclude young people from partaking of that fundamental right of any U.S. citizen.
Connecticut's Constition, too, mandates that citizens have a right to offer "by petition" their thoughts and grievances to the government.
Citizens are not just registered voters. They are all us, including kids.
So if you want to sign the petition, do it. They're available in a number of shops around town now. There's also an online petition.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

And you have no clue about what can be named and what can't.

Steve Collins said...

1:01 -- Want to translate that into a coherent thought?

Tim Gamache said...

Steve: In Bobs' defense,I had brought to his attention the petitions were being left unattended at different locations.This had been an issue in the past with petitions of political ramifications.I believe someting got lost in the translation.Probably more MY error than Bobs.

Anonymous said...

Hey .... Let's name the skatepark graffitti central .

Odin said...

Tim: Thank you for being a "stand up guy" and offering to take the blame for a very confusing issue.

What people need to understand is that there is no one type of "petition". The rules for what makes a petition valid and whether is has any legal standing are extremely complicated, and vary depending on the topic. Anyone who wants to get a petition started should check with an attorney first, or the staff person at city hall who is in charge of that issue.