Friday, May 31, 2013

Wisconsin: Bill proposed to limit municipal and school recalls to criminal or ethical violations

Interesting development from Wisconsin, where they haven't been able to push forward their bill to change the recall from a political recall to a malfeasance standard.  Instead, there's a new bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Jeff Stone, which would change the law for the municipal and school board level positions and require that the official was actually charged a criminal or ethical violation. 

Why doesn't the bill also limit recalls for state-level officials (which the Republicans have been arguing for, so far unsuccessfully)? To change the state level recall would require a constitutional change (one that would have to pass through the legislature in two separate elections, and then be voted on by the voters). Changing the recall for local officials can be made with just one bill. It is also less likely to be controversial, as the local races don't have the same political fight to them.

 We've seen repeatedly that tightening recalls laws to make them more difficult to get on the ballot are very popular with politicians, but not so with voters (here's the one exception that I know of). People may cited questionable poll numbers, but politicians clearly know that they mess with the recall at their peril. 

Colorado: Boulder County Commissioner facing recall threats over drilling moratorium

Boulder County Commissioners Cindy Domenico and Deb Gardner are facing recall threats for their 2-1 vote to let a drilling moratorium end.

Arizona: Arpaio recall bid fails

They did not hand in the petitions, so they clearly didn't hit the 335K signature mark. Presumably, the controversial lawsuit is being dropped as well.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oregon: Sherwood City Councilor recall -- Math is hard edition

Bizarre error, as the Washington County Elections Division miscalculated the number of signatures needed to get the Sherwood City Councilor Matt Langer recall on the ballot. The number is 1,011. They previously thought it was 704 (15% of turnout for Governor). They counted precinct 425 instead of 435.

This is another Walmart recall effort, as Langer's family has an interest in the land that a Walmart is suppose to be built on.

Colorado: Morse recall petitioners giving out prizes

Like Professor Cronin, I've never heard of this being done. However, there is nothing really negative about it, especially since many recalls and initiative get on the ballot due to the use of paid signature gatherers.

Additionally, here's a AP story quoting me on the recall.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wisconsin: Questions about the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Christian Schneider (conservative columnist who wrote maybe the only examination of the history of Wisconsin's adoption of the recall) takes on the WDC. As to the question of who watches the watchdog, I think we all know the answer is the Coast Guard.

Colorado: Denver Post editorial against the recall

I probably spoke to the writer of this piece (I spoke to somebody from the Post's editorial team). Needless to say, you can't tell from the write-up.

California: Lassen Supervisor recall approved, date for vote to be set

Lassen Supervisor Jack Hanson will be facing a recall vote, as petitioners have enough valid signatures. It took a judge's ruling to get it on the ballot, as the clerk originally threw out half the signatures do to improper forms. The Board will pick a date at their June 11 meeting. Hanson is facing a recall for his vote to terminate the County Administrative Officer, a few other more nebulous reasons and a failure to support a taxpayer-funded swimming pool. 
The first attempt to recall Hanson failed, the second took five times to get the petitions approved.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Texas: Legislation giving Vinton recall awaits Governor's signature


Arizona: Group continuing effort to get Arpaio recall effort tossed out by courts


Texas: Petitions handed in for Lubbock Council recall

Petitions are being handed in for the recall of Councilman Victor Hernandez. Former Lubbock County Commissioner Ysidro Gutierrez is leading the effort and is handing in more than 450 signatures (no word on how much more). He needs 448. 

Washington: Spokane Tribe Vice Chair resigns during signature verification

Spokane Tribe Vice Chairman Rodney W. Abrahamson resigned while a tribal judge was verifying signatures (click the story for the whole complicated dynamic at work). Here's what he did:
Abrahamson was convicted of five misdemeanors after he illegally killed two bison north of Yellowstone National Park in February. Montana wildlife agents say he lied about his identity and claimed to be a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, which has treaty rights to hunt bison.

Oregon: Sherwood City Councilor facing petitions over Walmart zoning decision

Sherwood City Councilor Matt Langer is facing petitions for supporting the development of a Walmart on land owned by family members (not clear if he has any ownership himself). Langer claims that the zoning was all decided before he was elected (that was back in 2010). Petitioners need 704 signatures by August 15. Worth noting that this is not the first time that a Walmart has resulted in a recall threat.

Virginia: Isle of Wright County School Board members threatened with recalls over racist emails

Two members of the Isle of Wight County School Board, Herb DeGroft and Byron Bailey, are being threaten with recalls by the NAACP for sending racist and inappropriate emails. No word on signature requirements.

Colorado: Cost of state Senate recall at $207K

The estimated cost of a potential recall against state Sen. Angela Giron has been sliced by $37,000, thanks to a new state law that gets rid of precinct election judges. The estimated cost is currently $207K.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wisconsin: Scott Walker going to Iowa

More presidential chatter

Virginia: Franklin City Council hearing recall noise over utility bills, but debate if the city has a recall law

Franklin City Council is facing recall threats over high utility bills but there's a big catch. The city failed to pass a recall law (it was killed by the General Assembly). Petitioners claim they still can do it, and need 10% of turnout.

Maine: West Gardiner considers recall ordinance

West Gardiner is holding a public hearing on a proposed new recall law that will be voted on June 4th. Apparently, the defeat of a 44 year incumbent sparked the effort.
Petitioners would need 10% of turnout in the gubernatorial election.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Massachusetts: Templeton Board of Selectmen member, elected in a recall, resigns

Templeton Board of Selectmen member Virginia C. Wilder resigned after being spit at, cursed at, had chairs thrown at her. Wilder won office in the recall of Julie Farrell (Farrell came back to win office three months later).

Colorado: Recall against Senator Hudak failing

The recall campaign against Democratic state Sen. Evie Hudak is being suspended. Petitioners need 18962 signatures by June 10, so this is a sure sign the recall is dead.

Maine: Theft of signs in Old Orchard Beach plagues another recall

We've seen this before.

Wisconsin: True the Vote claims that the verify the recall campaign was targeted by the IRS

Here, though there is a claim that the True the Vote group filed as a 501(c)(3), which would be barred from political activity.

Minnesota: Supreme Court throws out two recall campaigns over gay marriage vote

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lori Gildea tossed out the recall campaigns against to DFL Reps. Joe Radinovich and John Ward, DFL. Both of them voted to legalize gay marriage, though their districts voted to ban it. As with every other Minnesota recall, the judge held that the didn't meet the malfeasance standard.

Wisconsin: Another attempt at changing the recall law underway

Here.The article cites two strange facts. It says 29 states allow local recalls -- the number is probably more like 38 (it's really not clear). The other is the NCSL estimate that three-fourths of recalls are at the city council or school board level. Since there have been only 42 state level recalls in US history, the percentage of recalls occurring on the local level is vastly higher than 3/4ths.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Massachusetts: Hanson Board of Health Chairman kicked out

Hanson Health Board Chairman Tom Constantine was kicked out by a 886-316 margin. Issues included a ban on outdoor activities during the mosquito season, forcing the aggressive interpretation of agricultural uses and seeking a protective order against the town administrator. He is being replaced by a long-term former health board member, Gil Amato.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Colorado: More on the Morse recall effort

CNN has another story on this. I'll have to write a larger piece on this.

Arizona: Arpaio recall pulls plug on paid signatures gatherers (again)

Arizona Politics has the story

Washington: Senators considering easing recall laws

This is after the difficulty Pacific voters dealt with in getting their mayoral recall on the ballot. One of the suggestions is adding in DUI as a reason to recall.

Massachusetts: Hanson Board of Health Chair recall election tomorrow

Tom Constantine is up for recall tomorrow. Here's the issues.

Nebraska: Omaha Mayor, who beat back recall campaign, loses reelection race

Jim Suttle barely survived a recall race in 2011. While he got into the runoff, but was easily defeated in his reelection 57-42.

Alaska: Whittier mayor recall going to the ballot

Whittier Mayor Lester Lunceford is facing a recall for open meeting violations. Petitioners handed 56 valid signatures, and needed 31. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nebraska: Wayne County Commissioner loses recall in overwhelming fashion

Kelvin Wurdeman was kicked out 370-77. His conviction for selling publicly owned scrap metal did not go over well.

California: San Bernardino City Clerk 10th official to face recall petitions

San Bernardino City Clerk Gigi Hanna is the 10th city official to face a recall, though this is not being run by the same group that is launching a recall against the 10 other officials.

South Dakota: Rapid City Councilman recall needs 1,000 more signatures

Petitioners claim that they need 1,000 more signatures to reach the 6,200 signatures needed to get the recall of Rapid City Councilman Bill Clayton on the ballot. Here's why:
Clayton reportedly asked the TV reporter, who is Jamaican-American, "Should we deport you back to Kenya with Obama?" and "Are you even American?"

Florida: Tamarac Commissioner recall moving to second round of signature gathering

The ongoing recall campaign against Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad got enough signatures to move to the second round. Petitioners will now need 15% of 12496 to get on the ballot.

Michigan: Columbia School Board Secretary hearing recall threats for fictitious newspaper letter to the editor

Columbia School Board Secretary Amy Miller is facing recall threats after writing a letter to the editor under a fictitious name opposing the new high school football coach hiring. The same group calling for the recall had previously discussed recalling the entire school board.

Nebraska: Wayne County Commissioner facing recall today

Wayne County Commissioner Kelvin Wurdeman is facing a recall vote today after being convicted of stealing a truckload of publicly owned scrap metal and fined $1,000.

Monday, May 13, 2013

North Dakota: Five Griggs County Commissioners facing recall threats over courthouse/emergency center building plans

All five Griggs County commissioners, Ron and Dennis Halvorson, Keith Monson, Robert Johnson and Ronnie Edland, are facing recall threats over the plan to build a $3.5 million courthouse and emergency operations center. The county voters have shot down three separate bond issues on the subject.

(Petitioners need 25% of the turnout in the governor's race -- which is 60 to 75 signatures per).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Florida: North Miami voters looking to subject all elected officials to recalls

The last charter question deals with the recall of elected officials; the city’s current language follows state statute. Voters will be asked to decide whether the city should remove redundant language and subject all elected officers in the city to the possibility of a recall.

Nebraska: Recall backers still opposing Omaha Mayor in reelection race

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle survived a recall vote in 2011. He's running for reelection and, no surprise, the recall backers are spending on his opponent.

Washington: Two Clark County Commissioners facing recall threat

Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke are facing recall threats over the decision to push out the environmental services director and put in place Republican state Senator Don Benton.  A former mayor of Vancouver. Royce Pollard, is leading the recall charge. Petitoners would need 39,549 and 44.053 to get on the ballot (25% of turnout).

Petitioners need to show Malfeasance, but the state courts rejects violation of open meeting laws (a popular one in other states) as a reason for meeting the malfeasance standard.
In Clark County, it's been almost 30 years since a recall measure has landed on the ballot. In November 1983, Ridgefield voters narrowly approved a recall of Mayor John Roe. The year before, Washougal voters soundly rejected a recall of Mayor Mike Johnson.

Arizona: Sheriff Arpaio petitioners back using paid signature gatherers

This is actually a good sign for the recall movement, as it means they have some money. They need 335,000 valid signatures by May 30.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spirit Lake Tribal Council battling over recall

Washington: Pacific Mayor recall will be held June 25

The recall of Pacific Mayor Cy Sun is going forward, and will be held June 25. 467 of the 539 signatures were held to be valid. Petitioners needed 415. Sun is facing a recall due to his alleged misuse of the police department (including forcing out the police chief and four officers) and refusing to file department heads, which caused issues with liability insurance.
Note that: The last successful recall election involved a Southwest Suburban Sewer District Commissioner who was recalled in 2004.

Op-ed on NY and the recall in the Albany Times Union

Here's my op-ed on the subject

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Texas: Lubbock Secretary details recall law

Here it is -- the recall has been threatened against Councilman Victor Hernandez.

UK: Queen's speech leaves out recall law

The Independent notes that leaving out the potential for a recall law "has been ditched -- for this year at least."

Michigan: Troy mayor wins election in recall replacement vote

Dane Slater, who was appointed to replace Janice Daniels after Daniels was kicked out of office in November, won the replacement vote. 50.4.%-45.9%.

Michigan:All three incumbents lost in Charlevoix City Council recall

All three incumbents were swept out of office in the Charlevoix City Council recall election, Denis Kusina lost to Jeff Porter 135-193; Bryan Vollmer lost to Gene Campbell 54-116, and Jill Picha lost to Shirley Gibson 76-119 (with a third party garnering 22 votes). This recall was based about the approval of a community fireplace.

New York: Op-ed by Republican Assembly members on their proposed recall law

Right here in the Albany Times Union.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Minnesota: Certain to fail recall petition announced against State Rep

The deputy chair of the Crow Wing County Republican Party is launching a recall against DFL (Democrat-Farm-Labor) Rep. Joe Radinovich for his support of a gay marriage law. The issue is that the district supported a proposed gay marriage constitutional amendment by 62.5%.
Minnesota has a very strict judicial recall or malfeasance standard -- the petition has to be approved by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. The past history of the Court strongly suggests this recall will not be approved.

California: San Diego mayor recall law may have some holes in it

While the attempt to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner heats up, there is also talk that the recall law is unconstitutionally drafted. The unconstitutional issue is based on a provision that in order to vote in the replacement race, a voter also has to cast an up or down vote. This type of provision was successfully challenged in the Gray Davis recall, however, that was just on the state level. That being said, this law would likely not stop a recall, just result in a minor change in the law.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Louisiana: Columnist notes that is the St. Tammany Parish Coroner recall can't get on the ballot, no recall call

Columnist James Gill notes the difficulty Louisiana voters have in getting recalls on the ballot, but cites the extreme circumstances in the case of St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan. Petitioners have 180 days to get 53,000 valid signatures. Here is some of the bill of particulars that have brought Galvan to the cusp of a serious recall fight:

 Galvan responded by raising his own salary to more than $200,000, and paying himself for what he claimed was unused vacation time, while maintaining a medical practice several miles away. He raised several subordinates to the six-figure class, although autopsies proceed at a leisurely pace in the ''burbs, and hosted boozy meals at public expense. Voters might have been less inclined to approve that millage increase, which brought in $3 million a year, if they had known that Galvan, even after building a new DNA lab, would have enough left over to buy a boat and pay for flying lessons in California.

South Dakota: Rapid City Alderman facing petitions

Rapid City Alderman Bill Clayton after making alleged racial slurs to a local black television reporter (in August).  A former City Councilman,Gary Brown is threatening to run against him.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wisconsin: Racine Alderman facing petitions over liquor licence fight

Racine Alderman Jim Kaplan is facing a recall over his opposition to a liquor license for a local tavern. The bar eventually got the license, though it has yet to open because it has to get the building in shape. 
The leader of the recall effort is related to the bar owners. Kaplan was first elected in 2006. Petitioners need 243 signatures in 60 days, though even this number has to be in question, as it is based on 25% of the votes cast for governor (as I've discussed before, there is a question of whether that is in the 2010 race or the 2012 recall).

California: Costa Mayor recall effort fails

The recall effort against Mayor Jim Righeimer appears to have failed, as petitioners aren't going to hand in the 9K signatures needed.

California: San Rafael recall could cost $250K

The attempted recall of Supervisor Susan Adams could cost $250,000, though it is possible that she will have a regular election a few months after the recall (though the dates are very speculative).

Colorado: Raton School Board Member kicked out in recall vote

Raton school board member Michael Anne Holland was kicked out, 131-92. Voter turn out was 4.2%.
Another board member, Sheila Castellini, was targeted, but she resigned in March.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

California: San Rafael Supervisor facing recall threats

 San Rafael Supervisor Susan Adams is facing recall threats over issues of high density housing plans and freeway improvement programs (which she didn't support). Petitioners need 6,368 in 120 days.

Michigan: Second time on petitions for Akron Village President

The first petition to recall Akron Village President Juanita Hollister was rejected on factual grounds. This one is a little more straight forward, claiming that the recall is for trying to charge the village a $60 meeting fee for talking to residents.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Idaho: Teton school board member facing petitions

Teton School District trustee Nancy Arnold is facing a petitions. Petitioners need 60 signatures by June 30. The issue is the failure to support a four-day school day.

California: San Bernadino recall looking for clean sweep against Mayor, City Attorney and 7 council members

One group is attempting to sweep out the entire San Bernardino government, with recalls being launched against mayor, city attorney and all seven council members.The issue is San Bernandino's bankruptcy filing

Louisiana: St. Tammany Parish Coroner recall starts


Michigan: Buena Vista Township Clerk facing recall threats

Buena Vista Township clerk Gloria Platko is facing recall threats and resolutions for her resignation after describing supervisor Dwayne Parker with the N-word in an audio recording of a phone conversation with the Township Manager.