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Petition drive begins to let voters decide public funding for new Falcons Stadium

7:02 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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  • Common Cause Georgia holds stadium funding petition news conference
  • William Perry of Common Cause Georgia gets signature on stadium funding petition
  • Common Cause Georgia volunteer gets signature on stadium funding petition
  • Artist rendering of possible look for new Atlanta Falcons stadium
  • Artist rendering of possible look for new Atlanta Falcons stadium

ATLANTA -- A petition drive to let Atlanta voters decide whether public funding should be used for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium got underway Tuesday.

William Perry of Common Cause Georgia led a small group of volunteers as they began a two month, door-to-door quest for 35,000 signatures of registered city voters.

Many thought the $200-million share of local hotel and motel taxes was a done deal to help pay for the $1-billion plus project.

But Perry is still fighting to put the issue on next fall's ballot.

He's had to re-write his petition to ask if voters want to change the City of Atlanta's charter to keep public money from being used on the stadium.

But that could end up being confusing.

That means voters would have to say "Yes" if they wanted to say "No" to a public share.

Mayor Kasim Reed, who helped broker the stadium deal, has called the petition campaign a "publicity stunt" doomed to failure.

On Tuesday City Attorney Cathy Hampton issued a statement calling the latest petition "unconstitutional".

She claimed it "impermissibly seeks to undo lawful Atlanta City council (approval) action retroactively, impair vested contractual obligations and impose legislation in an area of local law pre-empted by state law."

Perry expects strong opposition from city hall.

"We feel like we're on strong legal ground; we will take this to court if we need to and we'll continue to fight," he told 11 Alive News.

But his biggest battle is numbers.

He needs 35,000 notarized signatures of confirmed Atlanta registered voters.

He hopes to collect between 40,000 and 50,000 signatures as a safety margin.

But since his campaign only has 60 days, that means an average of more than 650 per day.

His biggest problem is manpower.

"If we can get enough volunteers to help us, this will be an easy task to accomplish because so many people agree this is something that the citizens of Atlanta should vote for," Perry said.

The clock is ticking.

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