Contra Costa Times Elisabeth Nardi reports that a referendum blocking the City Council’s decision to allow Neiman Marcus to come to Broadway Plaza gathered more than enough signatures to head to the ballot.
The group opposing Neiman Marcus on Tuesday turned in a total of 7,263 signatures, while only needing 4,226, Nardi writes. The city has until July 29 to verify the signatures. Then the referendum must go before the City Council, which has to decide whether to put the matter up to a citywide vote. Oh, what a bitter pill that could be for City Council members to swallow, to let this referendum go through.
You can read more from the Times here.
By the way, this referendum is backed by a group with a--yes--somewhat wacky acronym as its title. The group calls itself Residents and Advocates for More Parking and Reduced Traffic (or RAMPART).
Who thinks these things up? As my son and his buddies would say: Whatev--
This RAMPART group includes Walnut Creek city residents Ann Hinshaw and Selma King (a former city planning commissioner), who have asserted that Walnut Creek City Council members failed to do their job responsibly in approving the Neiman Marcus proposal.
Those gathering signatures for the referendum to block Neiman Marcus were hired by a private company funded by Taubman, a rival mall company that owns Sunvalley Mall in Concord and is the potential retail developer for San Ramon City Centre.
But this anti-Neiman Marcus-signature-gathering effort shouldn't be confused with a signature-gathering campaign by those who support the proposal to bring the Texas-based luxury retailer to Walnut Creek.
The pro-Neiman Marcus signature gatherers are supporting their own ballot initiative, which is backed by Macerich, the owners of Broadway Plaza. And their initiative is basically the same plan submitted and approved by the City Council in May.
However, as an astute reader pointed out, as I've reported earlier--and as the Times acknowledged in its story today--this plan doesn't actually guarantee that Neiman Marcus will come to Walnut Creek.
The iniatiave, according to a reader, says that a store, "SUCH AS Neiman Marcus" will be built as a third anchor department store for Broadway Plaza.
The Times says the agreement "gives Macerich vesting rights for a major anchor store at Mt. Diablo Boulevard and South Main Street for the next five to 10 years."
In any event, Neiman Marcus boosters have had their own signature gatherers out, wearing bright yellow T-shirts, hitting the streets of Walnut Creek, starting Saturday. That petition will be circulated for the next three weeks.