Last time Northampton County Council met, phony preacher Mario Martinez waved petitions at them, ominously saying "In front of you today, I have another 81. You can do the math."
OK, I will. 81 petitions signed by 107 people translates to 8,667 signatures. If you add that to the 10,774 submitted, that's 19,441 signatures. But the fake Rev. was apparently just kidding. He's now claiming he really needs 8,000 to 10,000 signatures. Good thing he's an ordained minister because he needs a miracle. Now there's a last-minute push at five different locations.
One of them is at Gracedale. Although County Council Prez Ron Angle and Exec John Stoffa are repeatedly condemned and accused of playing games, they have repeatedly tolerated the nursing home's use as a forum for the referendum movement.
What's interesting to me is that two of these five locations are in Lehigh County. That's right. Signatures will be collected at an Allentown union hall and Westgate Mall. No problem there, right?
Even if they obtain the necessary John Hancocks, I believe a Gracedale referendum is contrary to the Home Rule Charter. Northampton County's 2011 budget only funds Gracedale for six months. A referendum banning a sale will force a budget amendment as County officials scramble to find cash. But the Home Rule Charter specifically bans referenda on any matter that extends to the budget.