Sunday, February 19, 2006

My front door experience with a “First Things First” petition gatherer

This is the post I almost wrote a few months back but didn’t. At the time I thought, “Lelo, yes you’re pissed off but give it a break.” Turns out the experience at my front door with an idiot petition gatherer was a good indicator for what has happened, as the signature gathering has turned into quite the ruckus and news story. I should have followed my instincts and blogged about it then, but better late than never.

The doorbell rang one night and the woman at the door said she was gathering signatures for a petition "to keep taxpayer money from going into politicians pockets and to support schools instead."

It smelled funny to me.

I asked her whom she was with and she said the City of Portland. Now I know that the City does not go door-to-door collecting signatures. Duh. I looked at her really weird and repeated, “You’re saying you are from the City of Portland?” and she flubbered some, and I asked who is behind the signature gathering. She couldn’t answer but continued to press me to sign the petition. At that point, there’s no way in hell I’m going to sign this petition, but let’s see what this is really about…. I pressed her for who is supporting the petition, she didn’t have any paperwork to show me nor could she tell me anything more, and when I explained there’s no way I’m going to sign something when I don’t know who’s behind it, what it’s about, or what group she’s representing, she looked at me and overly-clearly and loudly asked (as if I couldn’t possibly understand her), “Do you have access to a com-pew-tor? Maybe you could look it up on a comp-pew-tor.” She didn’t have a website for the First Things First committee, whose name we found together hidden somewhere in her paperwork, but thanks to her great incite I could look it up after she left.

You bet I did. This visit to my front door stunk, and it was topped off with an insult. I probably had googled that committee name before she stepped onto the sidewalk leaving my house. What was that about? Here is someone going to door to door, gathering signatures—and I had seen there were signatures of my neighbors—for something she could not explain one bit about, and, she assumed I didn’t have nor know anything about com-pew-tors.

So I’m not surprised ONE BIT to read:
“…the repeal appeared to have fallen short thanks in large part to unregistered voters and duplicate signatures.” And, upon reading what the First Things First Committee was about and who was a part of it—big businesses like Qwest and PGE—I’m really glad I didn’t sign it. In no way does it represent me nor my beliefs (which, BTW, I do support campaign finance reform), but the way the signature gatherer was presenting it, shoving the petition in front of me and decrying use of my taxes by politicians, I can see how it could easily go the other way for other people. Which got me thinking…I live in a historically depressed, working class, and diverse neighborhood. I’m part of some of the gentrification of it, but what was she doing in my neighborhood? And why was she assuming I didn’t know what a com-pew-tor was?

I’m glad I didn’t sign that, but I do wish I had told her off. If you’re going to gather signatures for a bullshit initiative, at least know what you’re talking about and who you’re representing. And don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot.


pack of 2 said...

I live in LO & none of them ever come to our door!
I do get hit up outside the stores though.
Sounds like that person was an idiot & SHE probably didn't know what a computer was...LOL!


bemused said...

We had a related idiot at our door a few weeks back, lelo. She was gathering signatures "for school support" but she was unclear who she represented or what was the purpose of the petition. She had no handouts, publicity information or identification, further raising flags. Additionally, I am very active in my local school district so I know when there are tax measures or fundraisers, etc and nothing she said rang true. We said as much and then pointed out our "No Soliciting" sign, stating that when we petition for schools, we respect those signs and she should do the same to avoid pissing people off (but we said it nicer) and losing support. She became very argumentative and spouted off that she had Constitional Rights or some such politico-crappo-speak that she thought gave her the right to bug us at home. Hubby slammed the door in her face. They never get that far with me since I don't open the door to strangers - no exceptions. Recent incidences of home invasions that happened when owners opened their doors to strangers cement my habit. (I have yet to get hubby to adopt this habit but I'm trying.)

I wish our "No Soliciting" sign was respected but it really is useless. When pestered, I politely point it out to them (talking through the side window) and walk away from the door. End of conversation. I love to do that!

Torrid said...

I think it's unfortunate that you don't answer the door to ANYONE, but of course that's your right.

If hubby won't leave the door shut, perhaps you can reach a compromise--if it turns out to be solicitation, he could charge out onto your porch and howl like a tweaker boosting his high with angel dust, shouting inanities ("Dan Saltzman is beaming secrets to the Venutians! Randy Leonard is really a robot built by Charlie Hales!") and drooling until they leave.

Believe me, word will get around to avoid your house. :)

Lelo--we've been covering this issue as well, over at Loaded Orygun.

bemused said...

Torrid, I answer my door but I don't *open it* to strangers. I learned this tip years ago when I went through training as a rape counselor. It was also the recommendation of a police officer at a presentation about home safety some years ago. I'm not rude but I do make it clear that I won't open my door and that I do not purchase from door to door salespeople. If it's for a political campaign, I tell them they can leave literature for me to read later. It may be unfortunate, as you say, but that's life - a serious of choices and consequences and not always ones we like.

btw, I would love it if solicitors got the word and stayed away from our house, but I doubt any wild shenanigans on hubby's part would do the trick. Dang it.

Randy Leonard, Model 1952 said...

"Randy Leonard is really a robot built by Charlie Hales"

There is no documented evidence of that.
There is no documented evidence of that.
There is no documented evidence of that.
There is no documented evidence of that.
There is no documented evidence of....

godfry said...

I invested in a very "arty" piece of slate that had been painted offwhite and then emblazoned with painted tendrils of ivy encircling a nicely calliographed phrase, "Go Away". It hangs just above my street number and postbox.

I have a head-sized window in my front door, with a tatted curtain over it. When there is someone at the door, I look out and if it's someone I don't know, usually with a clipboard in hand, I get their attention and point to the sign. Then I go away.

Besides, it's a long way up from the sidewalk.

Only nOObs and clueless go so far as to push my doorbell.

When approached on the street by a petitioner, I will state flatly, to their face, that I will not sign their petition because I have lost all faith in the Oregon electorate to make an intelligent decision on an initiative measure. I have thought this since 1990. I make it clear. Besides, if I want to sign something, it's because I KNOW I'm comfortable with the contents of the initiative.

I personally think we need to repeal the whole property tax limitation measure and start all over. Return control of schools, and school finances, back to the district level and take the Legislature out of it entirely.


Rozanne said...

I wonder if she was the equivalent of a mercenary? Paid a buck a signature to go collect 'em, but never brought up to speed on exacty who or what she was meant to represent.

It would have really frosted me to have someone ask if I had access to a com-pew-ter.

Whenever a former boss of mine was insulted by someone she alway said one of the two following things: "I'll dance on your grave." or "You'll never make more than minimum wage."

I don't have that kind of chutzpah! (And I could never bring myself to say either of those things.)

Anonymous said...

you need to pick yourself up a no soliciting sign from

i can't stand those solicitors.