Monday, March 2, 2015

North Carolina: Proposal for recall law in Stanly County Board of Education

The Stanly County Board of Education is being targeted with a recall bill -- and an attempt to make the school board a partisan endeavor. The whole episode was started with an attempted consolidation and closing of schools.
The trick here is that the school board members are not eligible for recalls. So the local House Rep. Justin Burr has filed bills that allows for recalls and that requires school board members to identify with a political party.

Massachusetts: Lancaster town administrator settles claim

The dismissal of the town administrator led to this summer's recall, and the ouster of two selectmen. Now, there's been a settlement in his lawsuit.

Massachusetts: New Fall River Mayor already getting ready for reelection race

He just won office in a recall, but he'll be up in September. So, time to start preparing for the reelection race -- as this story makes clear.

Texas: Claims of race-baiting in Hearne recall

Here -- the recall vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Phillipines: Puerto PRincesa Mayor stops signatures verification process on video

Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron has been caught disrupting the signature verification effort against him on video, though he claimed that it was stopped by the Election Commission (COMELEC) itself. He's caught on the video ripping up one of the Comelec resolutions and generally throwing his weight around.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Newsweek article on the Scott Walker recall rocket

Here's my article on how the recall resulted in Scott Walker's meteoric rise to the top of the charts. A couple of key points in the piece:

1) As readers of this blog know, recalls frequently result in a big boost to the target, especially if they survive. I was talking about this during the 2012 VP selection chatter, and thought Walker could be a top candidate for the job. Obviously, he wasn't chosen, but the logic still holds.

2) Midwest Governors are always talked about as presidential candidates, but they rarely get there -- Stevenson's the last to get a nomination, and the Idol of Ohio, the originator of McKinelynomics , William McKinley was the last to win.

3) Here's what I think is the crux of this piece -- the sheer volume of mentions in the WSJ/NYT of Walker compared to other governors of much larger and more economically important states (see that below). I would have really loved to figure out a search on Fox News for this (as I think they would have had a larger impact on the target audience than any other news source), but I have no idea how to perform that search on a free engine. Similar problems prevented me from expanding this to the LA Times and the Washington Post. The February 5 date was a technological limitation -- I would have liked to go back to January 1, 2011, but the WSJ has a four-year time limit.

WSJ/NYT and undoubtedly other papers, wire services, radio and TV stations covered that recall extensively. There are other governors from that area who got significant press (Mitch Daniels most notably), but he was a part of the Great Mentioning, so his press was very different.

Now the results of all of this coverage doesn't mean that Walker was super-well known -- relatively recent polls have shown that the majority of Republicans did not have an opinion about him. But I think his name was out there and in (for Republican primary voters) an extremely positive connotation. This is why Walker is pushing forward.

Therefore, the campaign received massive news coverage–far eclipsing what other governors would get for anything other than a scandal or a serious presidential campaign. A quick search of The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) shows this. From February 5, 2011 to December 31, 2012, Scott Walker was mentioned in 422 New York Times and 667 Wall Street Journal stories.
Compare that to some of his fellow GOP governors who were elected at the exact same time from much larger states with far greater economic impact on the country. Ohio’s John Kasich received mentions in 64 NYT and 167 WSJ pieces. Michigan’s Rick Snyder saw his name in 105 NYT and 196 WSJ stories. Florida’s Rick Scott was mentioned 214 times by the NYT and 152 times by the WSJ. And Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett appeared in 68 NYT and 117 WSJ articles.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Arizona: Purchase of Country Club leads to petitions in Oro Valley

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and council members Lou Waters, Joe Hornat, and Mary Snide are facing recall petitions over their vote to buy the El Conquistador Country Club  and Golf Course for $1 million, as well as approving a half cent sales tax to cover improvment cost for the property. Petitioners previously tried to stop the tax, but failed even though they presumably collected enough signatures. They were told the wrong total signature amount to collect.

Petitioners would need 2765 signatures for the mayor and 2193 for each council member. There was an attempt to recall another council member last year over a completely different incident, but that failed.

California: Further complaints about process of signature rejection in Salinas

The rhetoric in the op-ed is more than a bit overstated, but the point is one that we've seen before -- delay and official "subjective determinations are frequently used to kill a recall.

Massachusetts: Signature forgery claim in Saugus recall

There is not claims that of signature forgery on the petitions against Saugus Selectmen chair Ellen Faiella. Petitions against the other three selectmen have not been examined yet. Petitioners handed in 4850 signatures, and needed 4443 (recall is over the firing of the town manager). The recall is set for March 17. The story seems to say that the claim has been brought by a pro-selectmen PAC and its consultant, not by actual voters. If they can't get voters to state that they didn't sign, the forgery claim will face a very hard challenge to be successful.

Here's the key info:
Handwriting consultant Eileen Page, hired by the pro-selectmen PAC, said she found 832 unreadable or questionable signatures, even though Town Clerk Ellen Schena only found 43 she could not certify last November, when the issue first came up. Five hundred other names were tossed out because they were not registered voters.
“Signatures shifted from print to cursive,” she said. “People’s names were misspelled — there was either a letter that shouldn’t be there, or letters were omitted. No effort was made to disguise the writing style.”

California: Recall attempt against Perris Councilman arrested for meth possession fails

The recall attempt against Perris Councilman Julio Rodriguez failed, with petitioners not handing signatures. They needed 4661, and they claim they will try again. Rodriguez was arrested for possession of meth after reporting that his city-issued iPad was stolen. He has pled not guilty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Massachusetts: Sagus Board of Register's member resigned in protest over recall

Don't see this happen to often -- the former town clerk and member of the Board of Registars Joanne D. Rappa resigned over the upcoming Selectmen recall (she doesn't face a recall there). Rappa's term was set to end on March 31.

Rappa claimed that the copy of the approved ballot was sent out to early, and therefore compromised.

Louisiana: St. John the Baptist Parish DA facing petitions

St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut is facing petitions less than two months into her six year term. Petitioner will need 9,666 signatures by August 10. IT doesn't say why the petitions have been taken out. Interestingly, Dinvaut came in second in the primary 46-34%m but the lead candidate dropped out before the runoff, and then died shortly afterwards.

Philippine: Bulacan Governor disappears to avoid recall service of process

The clock is running out on the already approved recall of Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado. The Supreme Court ordered the recall, signed by 319,707 voters, to go forward, but because the Governor has disappeared from sight, he cannot be personally served, which is one of the requirements of the recall. Now, the service has been mailed. Let's see if any of the big three Philippine recalls get to the ballot.

Arizona: Second shot at Glendale Councilman

Petitioners are taking another shot at Councilman Gary Sherwood. They had 6000 signatures tossed out in December over the issue of not having a box that said whether the petitioner was paid or volunteers.

Petitioners need 2752 signatures by June 20.

Philippines: Election Commission orders stop to Cagayan de Oro City mayoral recall

Just part of the continual trouble with recalls (and elections) in the Philippines.The Commission of Elections tossed out an attempted recall of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno over a missing information on the petitions, specifically the rasons and justification for the recall on every signature sheet.

The Philippines Supreme Court recently overturned a separate election commission attempt to kill a recall against a different mayor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

California: Oroville City Councilors facing petitions

Oroville City Councilors David Pittman, J.R. Simpson and Thil Wilcox due to a fight over whether to allow PG&E to cut down trees in a cemetery. Petitioners may also try going after Mayor Linda Dahlmeier and Councilor Jack Berry once their 90 day election grace period ends. The trees were cut down on February 6. 

Petitioners will need 1574 signatures to get on the ballot.

Oregon: Kitzhaber and the frequency of resignations

Unfortunately, I couldn't post this in time. At least the Oregonian ran this in a timely fashion -- here's my op-ed on Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation.

Georgia: Pierce County Board of Ed Chair avoids molestation charges, but can a recall be far behind?

 Pierce County Board of Education Chairman Mark Dixon won't be facing molestation charges due to a statute of limitation issue, but the recall is another story. It's not clear if even this case can overcome the Georgia recall rules (as a malfeasance/judicial recall state, it is not clear if even this is enough cause to get the recall on the ballot). 

Nevada: The Iceman Cometh -- challenger announced against Assembly Speaker

A water and ice vending machine business owner seems to have the backing of petitioners in a run against Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, if the recall gets on the ballot.

Michigan: Plymouth Township recall won't make May ballot

They still have time to get on the November ballot.

North Dakota: Lincoln mayor recall fight leads to House vote on vetoes

The case of the Lincoln mayor veto has resulted in an overwhelming House vote (90-1) to allow a city council to override a mayor's veto. The issue came up when Lincoln Mayor Bob Johnston vetoed a council bill on drainage and ground-water issues. The veto could not be overriden. The council than passed a motion allowing for a veto, which Johnston vetoed.

Petitions are still circulating against Johnston. Petitioners need 110 signatures (25% of mayoral turnout) in 90 days.

California: Kensington Police Board hit with recall petitions

Kensington Police Board directors Len Welsh, Chuck Toombs and Pat Gillett all received recall notices over a 16% pay raise (over 4 years), fallout from a non-suspension of a cop having his gun stolen by a prostitute in Reno, and questions over the police chief contract. The petitions were filed by a UC Berkeley political science professor, Kinch Hoekstra.