Opponents of a new San Tan city say that as fast as their opposition is signing up incorporation supporters, they are "unsigning" suburban residents.
But one incorporation advocate says his group is nearing its goal of collecting signatures from two-thirds of the area’s voters and he’s not worried about people unsigning the petition.
Leaders of the Better Living Committee oppose a new city.
They said Wednesday that they’ve changed their tactics at the halfway point of the 180-day period city supporters were given to collect signatures.
"We’re trying to quit preaching to ourselves," said Gordon Brown, a rural San Tan Mountains foothills resident and committee leader. "We’re being seen as a bunch of dinosaurs trying to keep the area in the Stone Age and that’s not what we want."
Brown said his group realized it would have to reach out to people other than rural residents who already agreed with the group’s position.
"The numbers of people are out in the subdivisions," Brown said. "There’s a pool of people who have never heard of (the incorporation effort)."
The Better Living Committee is hosting discussion sessions for residents and passing out forms that allow them to unsign the incorporation petition, if they’ve signed it. The forms formally tell the county that the signee changed his or her mind. They can be hand-delivered to the county or notarized and mailed.
Joan Perry, another Better Living Committee leader, said new forms are unsigned every day, but she refused to reveal an exact number.
"Most people are saying they’ve been misled," Perry said.
Gary Mecham, one of the leaders of the San Tan Incorporation Committee, said he’s confident more people are signing the petition than unsigning it.
"They’ve been trying that since day one," Mecham said. "They’ve been very unsuccessful in doing it. There’s just no validity to it."
More than 1,500 people have signed the petition, he said.
The group needs 1,739 signatures by the first week in February.
Mecham said he hoped to turn in all the signatures to the county in December.
The decision on incorporation then goes to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
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