Friends of the Farmers’ Market Press Conference
Thursday, May 1, 9:00 AM
At steps of Chico City Council Chambers (on E. 4th Street)
Friends of the Farmers’ Market (FFM) announced today that 7,000 Chico registered voters have signed the initiative petition, asking that the Chico Downtown Saturday Market’s franchise agreement be reinstated for six years.
“Hundreds of petitions are still being circulated”, said FFM spokesperson Cheryl King. “We ask circulators to return them as soon as possible so that every signature can be counted.”
The petition signers ask the city council to either adopt the new franchise agreement or put it on the November 4, 2014 ballot for voters to decide. The State Election Code requires a minimum of 10% of total registered voters in order to qualify. “We need every signature possible in order to qualify”, said King, “and we will continue to collect signatures for the next ten days.”
“The State Election Code is clear”, King stated, “The city council has only two choices once the signatures are certified by the County Clerk: adopt the new franchise agreement, or let the voters decide.”
“For 21 years the Market has helped the downtown, bringing 12,000 shoppers downtown monthly”, said former Chico Mayor and outgoing Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA) board member Michael McGinnis. “The City has big problems”, he noted, “but this isn’t one of them. Let’s help the Market continue to thrive”.
King, McGinnis, and former Chico Mayor Karl Ory are the three official proponents of the historic initiative. “This is not a legal issue”, Ory said. “Once the signatures are certified, the first City Council vote required by State law, is whether to adopt the new agreement. There is only one question: ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” “A ‘yes’ vote removes all legal challenges”, he added. “We urge the City Council not to spend a dime of taxpayer’s money on a law suit. The City Council should vote ‘Yes’ or let the voters decide”, concluded Ory.
Once submitted, the County Clerk has 30 days to check validity of signatures. FFM expects the certified petitions will be presented to the City Council at a July meeting.
Petitions can be turned in at a table at the Saturday Market, or at the FFM office any morning, or call FFM at (530) 487-7085.