Friday, May 22, 2015

Maine: Fight with Somerset County Registrar leads to discussion of recall

Somerset County Registrar of Deeds Diane Godin, who was reelected in November, is in a big fight with the county government, and refuses to authorize her name on official documents (she's been replaced by the Deputy Registrar, who ran against her in the election). Godin is accused of being rude, intimidating employees and not showing up to work. The Commissioners reduced her hours (cutting her salary to a fraction) and there is some debate over whether the county can use a surcharge account without her authorization. There does seem to be some discussion of a recall effort.

Idaho: Settlement reach in criminal charges against Bonner County Clerk

Bonner County Clerk Ann Dutson-Sater, who faced felony perjury charges as part of the failed Lake Pend Oreille school district member Steve Youngdahl recall (over Youngdahl's push to arm teachers), has settled for what is a downgrade to misdemeanor charges. Dutson-Sater allowed an organizer to state that he witnessed all recall petition signatures when he only saw a majority of them. Dutson-Sater (the only Democrat in Bonner County) lost election in November.

Minnesota: Editorial in favor of the Willmar recall process

Don't see this everyday, though since Minnesota is a malfeasance standard state, there is little chance of the recall getting to the ballot.

Ohio: Petitions taken out against Cleveland Mayor

Petitions have finally been taken out against Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. Petitioners need more than 12,000 signatures in 30 days, plus they get 20 more days if they fail the first attempt.

Washington: Petitions taken out against Port of Vancouver commissioner

Two Port of Vancouver commissioners Jerry Oliver and Brian Wolfe are facing potential recalls over a claim that they violated the open meeting law in a discussion over a nation's largest rail-to-marine oil transfer terminal. This is following a series of articles claiming that the board improperly used close door meetings. Petitioners need 35% of turnout.

Washington has a Judicial recall or "malfeasance standard" where petitioners have to get approval from a Superior Court Judge

Missouri:Webster Groves City Council facing petitions

Webster Groves City Councilman Greg Mueller is being threatened with a recall over his opposition to two school district propositions. Petitioners need 423 signatures by August 25. The election would cost between $12-15K.

New Mexico: Judge tosses out Las Cruces recall effort

Looks like the recall against Las Cruces City Councilors Gill Sorg, Olga Pedroza and Nathan Small, may be coming to an end. Judge Mary Rosner upheld the city clerk's decision to throw out petitions in the face of fraud allegations (757 people requested that their names be removed from the petitions),

The issue was a minimum wage law -- small business owners opposed to the law were seen as the primary backers of the recall effort.

Op-ed in the Orange County Register on Recall of Judges

Here's the op-ed I wrote on the recall of judges in California and nationwide, jumping off from the attempt against Judge M. Marc Kelly.

Here's a couple of key paragraph on the historical data:

The recall of judges in California is so rare that it is not clear when voters last used the device. The most comprehensive book on the early use of the recall, which was written in 1930, notes that four municipal judges and three justices of the peace were recalled and removed. And there has been virtually no mention of a recall of a judge in the state since.
The lack of recalls against judges is not just a California issue. Perhaps the last time the U.S. saw recalls against judges were in Wisconsin, and the subject matter should prove of interest to Kelly’s opponents. In both cases, lower court judges had made incredibly inappropriate comments from the bench against sexual assault victims. In 1977, Judge Archie Simonson was tossed out by voters after both handing down extremely lenient sentencing for a rapist and making negative comments about women and rape victims from the bench. This was followed in 1982 when Judge William Reinecke survived a recall vote after making wildly offensive comments about a 5-year-old sexual assault victim.
Why have recalls against judges not taken off? This hesitation dates back to the modern-day origins of the device. The original adopters had many issues with allowing the recall to be used against judges. The major concern, which is echoed today, is that making judges subject to the quick anger of voters may result in misguided rulings and gun-shy judges.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

California: Football coaching staff changes lead to recall against Kingsburg Board of Ed members

All five of the Kingsburg Joint Union High School District Board, Rick Jackson, Brent Lunde, Johnie Thomsen, Steve Nagle and Mike Serpa. The prime mover seems to be a recent decision to reorganize the football coaching staff.

Wisconsin: Franklin Alderman facing petitions

Not clear why -- but Janet Adams is facing petitions. Here's an op-ed opposing it.

Michigan: Benton Charter Township officials facing petitions

Benton Charter Township Treasurer Debbie Boothby and Township Clerk Carolyn Phillips are both facing petitions for "making decisions behind the taxpayer's back," inclding appointing a township supervisor. Petitioners need 781 signatures. The article is not clear if the language was approved.

Ohio: East Cleveland recall failed again

Another effort (the fourth) against East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton has failed. Petitioners need to handed in 559 valids. They handed in 801 signatures, but only 426 were verified. The claim is that he has mismanaged the city and opposition to his position of annexing the city to Cleveland.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Florida: Bradenton Beach Mayor kicked out

After much drama and lawsuits, Bradenton Beach Mayor William Searon lost to Vice Mayor Jack Clarke (he just resigned to run). Shearon was recalled 182-174, and then lost the replacement race 185-172.

Arizona: South Tucson Mayor ousted

Mayor Paul Diaz lost to Robert Larribas by 59 votes out of 342 cast. Diaz was accused of supporting a proposal to open a residential drug facility across from an elementary school.

California: Errors made in Contra Costa petitions require revisions

Petitions against Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff have to be correct, as one the signers is not registered in Mitchoff's district and italics were incorrectly used. Petitioners will have to refile to restart the clock. They need 11,477 in 160 days.

Arizona: More criticism of Superintendent of Education

A longer look at the Dianne Douglas recall proposal.

Arizona: Golden Valley Fire District Board of Directors member loses recall race

Golden Valley Fire District Director Rhoda Brooks was kicked out 414-795 (65.22% against). Earlene Mahar beat her. Turnout was under 21%. Brooks has had a contentious relations with other members of the board and the fire chief.

California: Yuba County Supervisor sends in concise response to recall

This is from Andy Vasquez, and he provides a very quick and concise statement:

"Don't be fooled! If you sign this petition, you're supporting large marijuana growers."

Canada: Protesters call for recall/resignation of NDP MLA

A 10th Grader is organizing an protest of 26-year old NDP MLA Deborah Drever, over what he claims is "maturity" and "forethought" issues. Drever appeared on an album cover of metal band Gatekrasho in a offensive picture and some other offensive photos (smoking pot, flipping off the Canadian flag) on Facebook.

Monday, May 18, 2015

California: Twin Rivers School Board Member survives vote

Twin Rivers School Board member Sonja Cameron survived a recall vote on May 12, 1039-845. Cameron only started her position on December 8, 2014 (she was appointed by the board). A community association and the Democratic Party claimed that Cameron was appointed illegally. There was a funny issue about some of the signatures, which were dated 2014, when it was 2015.

Oregon: Legislature moving to adopt impeachment provision

Oregon is the only state to lack an impeachment law, but thanks to the recent gubernatorial scandal, the legislature is looking to change that.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Florida: Bradenton Beach Mayor recall up for vote on Tuesday

The recall of Mayor William Shearon is finally coming to a vote, with the Vice Mayor running against him.
Read more here:

Canada: MLA Richard Lee recall effort at half-way point, no discussion of totals

The campaign against MLA Richard Lee has hit the half-way point, but so far there are no totals being bragged about. Generally, that's a very bad sign, as it is with the MLA Marc Dalton recall from earlier in the week. Petitioners need 16,494 signatures.

Paper on Ballot Initiative Signature requirements

This paper by Kerri Milita at Illinois State University argues that increasing signature requirements for Ballot Initiatives is a decreases the complexity of the initiative and makes it more likely to get passed. H/T to the Election Law Blog.

Friday, May 15, 2015

California: Orange County Judge fires back at recall threat

I should have much more on the recall threats against Orange County Judge M. Marc Kelly next week-- I've written an op-ed, and hopefully it'll be placed soon.

Non-Recall Op-ed in Forbes on non-politician presidential candidates

This is sparked by Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson's attempts. Obviously , it mentions "We Want Willkie."

Maine: Denmark Selectmen recall moves forward

Town Manager Daniel Merhalski claimed that there are enough signatures to put the recall against Denmark Board of Selectmen Chairman Richard Mason Jr. and Beverly Caparco on the ballot. Petitioners needed 186 signatures, they got 213 or 214. The issue was the Board's refusal to fire the same Town Manager. Usually, the recalls are because they fired the guy, so interesting turnaround.

Canada: Recall of MLA Dalton falling short

Once again, a Canadian recall is coming up as short as the country's Stanley Cup hopes, with reports showing that petitioners are nowhere near getting enough of the 15,612 signatures needed to get the recall of MLA Marc Dalton on the ballot. Petitioners have 120 volunteers and figured they need 400 people. They are now talking about getting 10,327 signatures as something of a moral victory (that is the number of votes Dalton rang up in 2013.

Philippines: Comelec Chair calls for changes in recall law

The Comelec (the election commission) Chair Andres Bautista is now calling on changes to the recall law. Bautista claims that that officials with a three year term should not be facing recalls, as it is to short a term.