Organizers behind an effort to repeal Alaska’s oil tax overhaul say their efforts to gather signatures in Anchorage have been disrupted.
Pat Lavin, campaign coordinator for “Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway,” has written to Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew, seeking a meeting.
Lavin outlined the problems they have been experiencing…
Lavin: “Over the weekend on Saturday, was the first recent incident. One of our petitioners was gathering signatures; there was a parade and such in downtown Anchorage, and as the circulator was engaging groups of three or four people at a time, there were two people apparently there to harass and try to disrupt that process.”
Lavin says they were repeatedly getting in the way in an attempt to prevent the people from signing the petition.
Their person tried to politely keep working while moving away from them and in the end was able to keep gathering signatures, he says.
According to Lavin, the two people moved on but had harassed five or six groups of people by that point.
Another incident reportedly occurred at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Midtown Anchorage, where Lavin says one of the people that had been involved in the previous incident appeared at the store and began disrupting the signing process.
He says that includes physically touching people and getting in the way in an attempt to prevent the signing from happening.
The petition circulator in that instance was asked to leave, Lavin says.
He says the group hasn’t seen behavior like this in other communities.
The group must gather about 30,000 qualified signatures by July 13 to get the referendum on next year’s ballot. Lavin estimates the group has gathered over 20,000 signatures so far.