Comments by Lancaster Supervisor Robert H. Giza downplaying petitions against a giant screen, 3-D IMAX movie theater in the northwest corner of the town, were described Wednesday as "a really cheap shot against some highly motivated, civic minded volunteers" by taxpayer activist Jack Beilman.
Giza told Lancaster Town Board members Tuesday that he called about 10 of the 600 people who signed petitions against the IMAX theater, concluding that "they either didn't know what it was, or a friend asked them and they were too embarrassed not to sign."
"Sometimes, petitions don't mean as much as people think they do," the supervisor said.
Beilman, president of the Lancaster Taxpayers Association and a regional taxpayer umbrella organization, said the petition language was specific and signatures were obtained "from every corner of the town," not just in the Transit Road-Wehrle Drive area where the theater is planned.
"These petitions that he so readily and easily dismisses were taken around by intelligent, civic-minded adults who volunteered out of their own convictions that we don't need to add more traffic in an area that's already congested, or an eight-story building," Beilman said.
"Frankly, we could have come in with 10,000 signatures, but what would be the point? The word out in the community is that if he (Giza) is behind it, it's gonna go," Beilman asserted.
But Giza stuck by his guns Wednesday.
"You tell Jack to come in here, and I'll make the calls in front of him, and I'll bet that 50 to 60 percent will say they don't care, one way or another, and if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words," the supervisor said.