Gunfight at the OOB Corral
Early on the morning of April 10, 2013, I had my first experience with a “State Petitioner.” I never knew such an outlaw existed.
As I went to mail a postcard to my daughter, in front of the U.S. Post Office in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, I was confronted by a large affable man carrying a loaded clipboard and a placard around his neck that read “State Petitioner – Grace D.”
I was impressed.
He stepped in front of me and asked whether I’d sign his petition.
“Petition for what?” I inquired sheepishly.
“To recall the three town councilors,” he replied.
“Oh,” I said. “Which three?”
“Dayton, Coleman and Quinn,” he shot back.
“But I like them,” I said, somewhat defensively.
“That’s OK,” he parried. “You can sign this … it’s only to get the question on the ballot.”
So I backed down.
“I’ll have to think about it,” I whimpered and turned around to beat a hasty retreat.
Nobody else was around, thankfully, to witness my cowardice. Two or three other citizens of OOB had already succumbed to his advances and signed his petitions but (fortunately) nobody else had been present to observe this shameful lack of political conviction on my part.
Several days later I learned that “Grace D” was a hired gun. An out of town political sharp-shooter who had been drawn into this fight because he was a professional – not a believer in a cause, but a battle hardened petition-slinger who was there to do a dirty job: get signatures.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have no quarrel with citizens advocating for a political cause. I do it all the time. But here’s the rub:
I later discovered that “Grace D” was actually Dennis Graise – a resident of Auburn, ME (some 50 miles away) who was neither a resident of my town, nor enrolled as a voter in OOB (both of which qualifications are required to circulate petitions for local recall initiatives) and that he has had a history of controversial engagements in the Maine political process in the recent past.
Today I called the Maine Secretary of State’s office and discovered that there is no such thing as a “State Petitioner.” Our state neither requires nor authorizes anyone to have credentials to collect petition signatures.
This man was, simply put, a fraud. And that’s wrong. His credentials were bogus, he didn’t have the qualifications to collect signatures in our town and he even misrepresented his name.
Where are the Earp brother’s when you need them?