ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Opponents of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit announced two weeks ago that they were starting a petition to put the mayor’s controversial new bus system on the ballot.
Businesses up and down Central are now trying to make it easy for the anti-ART crowd by putting the petition on the counter.
Some of the business owners said they are not forcing the petition on customers, but they said they are more than happy to explain it to anyone who may be interested.
“A lot of people will actually come in and ask us is there a petition we can sign?” said Joe Annabi, owner of Astro Zombies.
The signs you see in front of the store are creating more foot traffic with curious customers. However, the manager said he’s not going to push his customers to sign anything they don’t want to.
“We haven’t really been spearheading any movements, but we’re very supportive of the anti-ART movement,” said Annabi.
A few days after they agreed to put the petition in their store, they have 16 signatures so far. Organizers need more than 14,000 valid signatures by August 29 to get the $119 million ART project on the November ballot.
A recent poll showed almost 80% of Albuquerque thinks voters should decide. That still does not mean people are rushing to sign the petition.
“I don’t plan on signing it today. I want to go home and get more information, but basically based on what I’m hearing, I don’t really agree with it so it sounds like something I would want to get more research on and read up on it, come back and probably sign it,” said Kasha McCollouth, resident.
BZ Skate Shop is one of the twenty businesses up and down Central that are advertising they have the petition. Owner, Patrick Frey, told KRQE News 13 he’s about to put it out on the counter for everyone to see.
“Because of summerfest, I didn’t want people to feel like we were just pushing something upon them. But it’s definitely going on right now, and we will have it out until the end of all this,” he said.
KRQE News 13 spoke to Donald Clayton, the man who started the petition to see how many signatures have been collected overall. He wouldn’t say.
If a judge OKs the project next week, the city will start tearing up Central next month.
The mayor says if ART makes it to the ballot in November, and voters reject it, the project will continue because city council has already approved it.