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Streetcar debate now on when the petition is due

There seems to be some new confusion related to Milwaukee's downtown streetcar proposal, and the due date of the petitions. The city clerk says under state law they have 15 days to process petitions and they're due Monday at the latest. But Donovan disagrees and says they still count if they're turned in a few days before the meeting.

Donovan says, \"It's important to give people a voice. In all the years I've been on the council I've never seen a more controversial public works project.\"

Tuesday February 10th is when the common council will take the vote back up, unless petitioners like Darwin Constantine and Gene McKiernan can get enough signatures to require the 124-million-dollar project to be put to a vote.

Constantine says, \"If it's going to be the people's money, the people should have a say in how it's spent. We hired the alderman to work for us, not think for us.\"

McKiernan says, \"Most of them that come in here (the bar), are against it because it's a middle class area and it doesn't affect us. You still have to get off the streetcar and walk 30 blocks to your house.\"

But time is not on the petitioner's sides according to Milwaukee's Clerk who says the signatures are due this coming Monday the 26th at the latest.

Owczarski says, \"We need sufficient time to review these if we have any notion these will affect common council action. (Reporter): How long will it take to process? (Clerk): The statute says 15 days.\"

Yet when we contacted Alderman Donovan about the clerk's different view of the due date, he maintains the signatures are due on the 8th.

\"We need 31,000. It's a tall order, so every day we're getting hundreds in.\"

We contacted the mayor but he was not available for a comment, and his office referred us to the clerk.

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