Big Box Petitioners Facing Resistance

Stan Ruddie of Up Against the Wall says his organization’s efforts to collect enough signatures to postpone a “Big Box” amendment from taking effect in Queen Anne’s County, until a referendum can decide the matter next year, are being hampered by property owners and members of the QAC Board of Elections and QAC school officials. Ruddie indicates the Board of Elections initially refused to provide a copy of the voters list and the QAC Board of Education Director did not respond to phone or email messages.

Ruddie said he asked that Board of Elections Attorney Jeffrey E. Thompson recuse himself from advising the Board of Elections on the petition “due to the representing of clients who have a direct benefit from this petition failing. ” Ruddie also said a petitioner had been ejected from Church Hill Elementary after regular school hours.

UATW volunteer, Jim Campbell, said he was trying to collect signatures at the Centerville Plaza Acme and was greeted by Centreville Police Chief Charlie Rhodes and his deputy along with a Rodney C. Renner, who introduced himself as a representative of the landlord. Renner said that the landlord had not approved the use of the property to collect signatures. Rhodes then informed Campbell that petitioners would be arrested immediately if caught using the property to collect signatures for the petition. The confrontation came a day after ACME officials had granted UATW permission to collect signatures, according to Ruddie.