Some Businesses Say Signed Petitions for Initiative 966 have been stolen - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Some Businesses Say Signed Petitions for Initiative 966 have been stolen

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YAKIMA, Wa -  A group gathering signatures for Initiative 966 says people are stealing signed petitions from local businesses.

This comes about a week after some Hispanic leaders announced plans to boycott businesses that support the initiative.  

"This petition is a great example," says Jar Arcand, owner of Santiago's Restuarant, who points to a petition where he had to white out some negative comments.

"I hope it's still valid," he says.

Arcand also believes that someone stole a signed petition that went missing a few days ago.  

"It's a very serious situation," says Arcand, "This is the process of our state government.  We shouldn't tolerate people that are going to undermine and cut the process."  

Grassroots of the Yakima Valley held a press conference at his restaurant this morning to announce at least four businesses that allege petitions were stolen.  They say as many as 300 signatures were lost.

"I was disappointed but not surprised," says Sandra Brendale of Grassroots of the Yakima Valley, "And I thought we needed to get the word out because what it will do is aggravate people and they'll be looking for a place to sign 'em now."

But people in the Hispanic community who are boycotting these businesses say it's just a publicity stunt.  

"The opposing group is using this insinuation that we're stealing their petitions to gather publicity because I think they are being impacted by our boycott," says Hector Franco, one of the boycott organizers.