Organizers behind an effort to repeal Alaska's oil tax overhaul say their efforts to gather signatures in Anchorage have been disrupted.
The Alaska Legislature passed the bill in April, and Governor Parnell signed into law last month.
Pat Lavin, campaign coordinator for "Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway," has written to Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew, seeking a meeting. Lavin, in his letter, says two people over the weekend harassed a petition circulator on the Park Strip, while one of the same people, a woman, grabbed people signing booklets in front of the Midtown Barnes & Noble bookstore Monday. He says managers then asked the circulators to leave.
"By the shoulders, so the hands on the shoulders to kind of get their attention to stop their signing motion," said Lavin while describing how the alleged offenders interfered with the petition drive.
Lavin says the group hasn't seen behavior like this in other communities. Lavin doesn't know if the people disrupting the drive have links to organizations that support the the oil tax reform bill.
"There's certainly a lot of activity going on with the opposition groups in general."
One of those groups is the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, which is running several radio ads in support of the bill.
"We're disappointed to hear that its happening, said General Manager Rebecca Loan of the petition disturbances. "We've never suggested to members that they approach signature gatherers, and we certainly don't condone that kind of behavior."
Lavin says he has a picture of one of the alleged offenders, and may press charges if the situation warrants.
The group must gather about 30,000 qualified signatures by July 13 to get the referendum on next year's ballot. Lavin estimates the group has gathered over 20,000 signatures so far.
Channel Two's Adam Pinsker contributed to this story.