Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unique Subculture

I have long thought the U-T to be an inferior paper with a pro-business agenda that wasn't inherently favorable to the average taxpayer. Additionally, they do an atrocious job on college football and world events. Superior to the overt leftism of the L.A. Times perhaps, but I have also subscribed to the WSJ for a broader perspective. However, the U-T watchdog is earning my respect, as they have been diving into local malfeasance, and I am now following them on twitter. Dave Maass at CityBeat is still my favorite local reporter.

Anyway, the U-T watchdog has an article that references the way the "unique subculture" of petition signature gatherers leads to exaggerations regarding petitions that they are paid to get filled with voter signatures. I had some personal experience with this described in an earlier post. This quote comes from "Jeff" (not his real name):

The signature gatherer acknowledged to The Watchdog on Tuesday that he lied about his name because he was afraid of getting into trouble for setting up shop outside Target.

“This is very competitive, people are cutthroat. People get up at 3 a.m. to stake out a place to work,” said the worker, who declined to disclose his real name. “This place is a gold mine, but I don’t want to mess things up. I’m not trying to give anyone bad information, I’m just doing my part to get this to a ballot so the people can decide.”

I sometimes make the mistake of engaging in conversation with the gatherers, even though they are often "off the grid" they are usually very personable. But, better to read the actual verbiage on the petition than listen to their descriptions. Bob Glaser, a paid coordinator for this petition drive had this to say:

“This is a very unique subculture,” Glaser said. “Some are off the grid and they are very independent. If you work in front of a store over a long period of time, you start to pick up on buzz words that catch people’s attention.”


  1. I think Bob Glaser is on to something with the "Buzz Words." Who hasn't experienced at some time or another a short phrase or word that really caught and held our imagination. Those are the words that spur change (not the obama kind).

  2. B@man,
    Agree, we all have words that really catch our attention. Thanks for commenting.