Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Massachusetts: Uxbridge Selectmen to recall petition language before sending it to state Legislature

The issue seems to be the amount of signatures needed and language that allows the recall for "any lawful reason" - which sounds like they may be pushing for a judicial recall/malfeasance standard recall, rather than a political one.

Uxbridge's town hall approved the recall provision, but the Selectmen seem to be slow walking it and now trying to replace the citizens petition.

Alaska: ACLU of Alaska filed brief in favor of Homer City Council members opposing June 13 recall

The ACLU of Alaska has filed suit claiming that the recall effort against Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds over their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline is should not be on the ballot due to Alaska law (and a question of free speech).

The free speech part of the claim is odd and out of place, but the councilmembers case against the recall is actual quite strong. Alaska is a judicial recall/malfeasance standard state and courts will frequently throw out recalls that don't meet the for cause statute (though they have allowed a number of recalls to go forward). Here's a copy of the complaint.

Rhode Island: Providence Journal endorses recall of indicted Councilman Kevin Jackson

Here

Philippines: Cebu Mayor facing recall threat

Mayor Tommy Osmena won a rematch in 2016, but his opponent Mike Rama appears to be pushing for a recall, even as they wait for the results of a recount.

Massachusetts: Bridgewater Councilwoman who won office in recall loses re-election run

Sandra Wright won office in the 2012 recall race. After losing a state senate race, she lost her re-election run 88-78.

Iowa: Logan city council shrinkage showed the issue with lack of recalls

Firings of City Administrator Angela Winther and City Attorney (back in 2012), led to a 2013 law that cut the size of the city council from 5 to 3 members. The council is now looking to add back the two members. What's interesting is that Winther (who was hired back after a lawsuit) notes that Iowa doesn't have recall elections, seemingly blaming that failure for the reason for the shrinkage.

Wisconsin: Superior Councilor facing calls for resignation after criminal charges filed

City Councilor Graham Garfield is facing charges after pointing a loaded gun at his fiance, with Mayor Jim Paine calling for his resignation. Garfield was reelected to the council by one vote last year, so a recall cannot start until he is in office one year.

Colorado: Signatures handed in against Frederick Mayor and trustees

320 signatures were handed in against Mayor Tony Carey and Board Trustees Fred Skates and Donna Hudziak. The issues were the approval of a four-story building that exceeded land-use height requirements, a restaurant that was too close to residential properties and a $5.6 million budget deficit.

There's also apparently a recall effort led by a failed Trustee candidate Mike Schiers against two other trustee members, Rocky Figurilli and Salvatore SeSantis, due to their alleged vote against developments.

Petitioners need 25% of turnout, which in Carey's case seems to be 146 signatures.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Michigan: Flint Mayoral recall appeal going to a judge

Mayor Karen Weaver is appealing the approval of a recall petition against her to a Circuit Court Judge -- with the hearing set for today. The recall language is over an emergency waste collection contract that she signed that the city council voted against. Petitioners would need about 5800 signatures.

Update: The Judge allowed the recall to move forward.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

North Dakota: Article on recalling Ward County Commissioner

The resignation of the Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski with a $75,000 payout has led to discussion of recall efforts against County Chairman Larry Louser and Commissioner John Fjeldahl. Petitioners would need 6927 signatures to get on the ballot, though it would have to get to the ballot by November.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Arizona:A look back at Arizona legislators push to cut back on initiatives and recalls

The Arizona Republic has a great look at how legislators worked to make signature gathering much more difficult. They could have submitted it to the voters, but they figured the voters would kill it.

Of particular note is that Strict Compliance, which overturns the Arizona Supreme Court decision holding that the recall is so important that a "substantial compliance" doctrine should be in effect. That means that Arizona recall petitions will now have a much higher burden to get on the ballot.

Louisiana: Welsh Alderman facing petitions

Alderman Jacob Colby Perry is facing petitions over claims that he has disrupted government and refused to acknowledge that his accusations are unfounded. Perry is out of the country on military duty.

Petitioners need at least 695 signatures (33 1/3 of registered voters) in 180 days.

Missouri: Springfield City Council member facing recall effort

Councilwoman Kristi Fulnecky, who recently lost a mayoral race, is facing a recall effort led by a longtime vocal critic, with claims that she is unable to cooperate, vindictive and a bad leader. Fulnecky has called other council members the "Gang of Five" and criticized a pilot program to connect panhandlers with jobs. The city council approved a report that said she was not eligible to run for the council because she failed to obtain and pay for a city business license for seven straight years.

Petitioners need 7774 signatures to get on the ballot.

The last successful recall and removal in Springfield was against Councilmember John Wilson in 1996. There were two recent campaigns against former Mayor Bob Stephens and against councilman Justin Burnett (who resigned following nipplegate). Neither got to the ballot.

Colorado: Four protests filed against signatures in Broomfield Mayor Pro Tem recall

The protest is an attempt to stop the recall against Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes (who is term-limited out this year). The article notes some residents claiming a partisan tilt to the recall, with conservative Republicans pushing the effort.

Maine: Op-ed by Maine Senator on his proposed recall law

Here -- I've discussed this one point before, but someone put out the idea that three-quarters of the recalls in the US have taken place on the local level. It is really probably about 99% on the local level.

Colorado: Fremont County Sheriff facing petitions

Signature gathering has started in a recall against Sheriff Jim Beicker. One of the leaders of the petitions is a resident who found evidence from a 2006 homicide in a storage unit that he bought at an auction. The Sheriff's office was also in the news for seizing horses under an animal cruelty claim, though some of them were returned by judicial order.

Petitioners would need about 4,000 signatures, and there is a claim that the recall would cost about $85,000.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Washington: Petitions taken out against Black Diamond Councilmembers

Council members Pat Pepper and Erika Morgan are facing petitions. The treasurer for one of the recall PACs is a former councilman. Since Washington is a judicial recall/malfeasance standard state, the petition claims that the two violated different rules, including the Open Public Meetings Act and usurping the authority of Mayor Carol Benson.

The councilmembers claim that the leader of the petition is the wife of former Councilman Ron Taylor, who lost to Pepper in the last election. PEtitioners would need 262 signatures for Pepper and 393 for Morgan.

Massachusetts: Judge rejects attempt to stop Townsend recall

Here

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

North Dakota: Fargo Commissioner welcomes recall

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said in a radio interview that he welcomes the special election over his push for a study on the impact refugee resettlement. Petitioners need about 3500 signatures by May 12. Piepkorn won office with 21% of the vote, so it could be an interesting race.

California: SJ Mercury News columnist looks at DA opposition to recall of Santa Clara Judge

Here

New Mexico: Tucumcari Commissioners recalls set for June 13

Recalls against Mayor Ruth Ann Litchfield and Commissioners Ralph Moya and Amy Guiterrez is scheduled for June 13. The petition against Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lumpkin failed to qualify. The issue is fines that the petitioner would get for keeping rusting equipment on their property.

North Dakota: Signatures handed in for Bismarck Mayor recall

Petitioners have handed in close to 2500 signatures against Mayor Mike Seminary. They need 1898 valids. Seminary is up for reelection in 2018.

Alaska: Three Haines Borough Assembly members facing recall threats

Borough Assembly members Heather Lende, Tom Morphet and Tresham Gregg are facing recall threats over claims of Open Meeting Act violations and pressuring the police department to perform duties to benefit their private businesses (Morphet owns the Chilkat Valley News, the others are a writer and an artist). The battle seems to be about the police department providing a police blotter, which the newspaper would be able to run.

Haines is called the adventure capital of Alaska. Petitioners need 258 signatures in 60 days for each.

India: Editorial opposed to push for recall law

Here

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Arizona: Governor facing petitions over school vouchers

Governor Doug Ducey's signing of legislation that will expand the school voucher program (and his support of a bill that bans paying signature-gathers for initiatives at a per signature rate) has led to what the Arizona Republic calls a "gadfly" filing a recall effort against Ducey.

California: Santa Clara County Judge gets backing from D.A.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has endorsed Judge Aaron Persky in his attempt to defeat a recall effort for the perceived lenient sentencing of a Stanford athlete in a sexual assault trial. Rosen had criticized Persky's sentencing in the trial.

Persky had already received endorsements from two other district attorneys. Recall advocates have raised moe than $400,000; Persky has raised $64,618.

Florida: Sweetwater mayoral recall effort tossed by judge, appealed by PAC

A Political Action Committee is filing an appeal for a judicial ruling tossing out the recall effort against Mayor Orlando Lopez (who also serves as city manager). Lopez missed five commission meetings and workshops, and the ruling holds that these absences are not a reason to allow a recall to go forward.

California: Gas tax vote leads to recall effort against State Senator

State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) is facing a recall effort led by Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego Councilman and losing Republican candidate for San Diego Mayor against Bob Filner and for Congress, is facing a recall threat over the vote to raise the fas tax as part of a $52 billion road repair package.

DeMaio seems to suggest that this is part of a plan to take the Democrats down from their supermajority control over the legislature. The recall effort against Senator Jeff Dunham in 2008 was a mirror image of this (where the Democrats were hoping to get a supermajority).
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article144036464.html#storylink=cpy

Nebraska: Table Rock Board member resigned before recall

Table Rock Village Board member Wayne Schulenberg faced a recall petition over claims of violations of the Open Meeting Act. Petitioners had enough signatures to get on the ballot so Schulenberg (and two other board members) resigned.

Oklahoma: Recall launched against Colbert Mayor and city council members

Mayor Roxanne Reed and council members Louis Presley and Terry Bell are facing a recall petition. The issue seems to be the firing of the former police chief (and the use of emergency meetings).

Washington: A look at Seattle mayor recalls

Jumping off of the criticism of Mayor Ed Murray, this article looks at the trouble Seattle mayors have faced.
In 1975, Mayor Wes Uhlman survived a recall by a 2-1 ratio. The recall was launched by firefighters and City Light employees over a progressive hiring practice.

In 1931, Mayor Frank Edwards was kicked out for firing the head of City Lights.

In 1911, Hiram Gill was kicked out very shortly after his election over his support for opening the city to "brothels and gambling parlors." Gill than came back and won the office in 1914 and 1916.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

California: Newport Beach Councilman gets unusual bedfellow in opposing recall

Councilman Scott Peotter (R), who is facing a recall threat over  , is being defended by a moderate Democrat. The recall is over Peotter's opposition to a fire station and library, disclosure of closed-session information, his use of a city seal on an emailed newsletter opposing the Supreme Court gay marriage decision and insulting comments, as well as his support for a 25 story condo development.

And here's Peotter's op-ed in the LA Times opposing the recall effort.

Colorado: Outside hearing officer hired to hear any protest of Broomfield Mayor Pro Tem recall effort

The recall against Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes over his vote against an oil & gas moratorium seems to be moving forward. Petitioners handed in 1350 signatures, and hot 1169 approved.

The council hired an outside monitor to prevent the City and County Clerk from having any perception of bias in case a protest is filed. The recall against Stokes has not been set yet. The cost is estimated to be $60,000, and Stokes is termlimited out in November.

Maine: State Senator proposes recall law for state

Senator Jusin Chenette (D) has proposed a recall law for the state that "give power back into the hands of the people." The bill seems to be a malfeasance standard/judicial recall variety, requiring neglect of duty, misuse of office, incompetence, crime, obstruction of voter-approved initiatives or violating election laws. There's a thought that it is about Gov. Le Page, though since the governor is term limited (at least for consecutive terms), it won't affect him. The Maine Municipal Association took a stand against the rule.

The bill requires 15% of turnout, with a very interesting provision that the signers be proportional to party affiliation of the turnout.

Rhode Island: Board of Elections rejects argument against Providence Councilman recall

Here

Friday, April 14, 2017

Michigan: State Senator facing recall effort after conspiracy charges filed

Senator Bert Johnson (D), who was indicted by a federal jury over hiring a ghost employee and paying her $23,134, which was allegedly done to pay off  a personal loan. The employee pled guilty in another case. Robert Davis, who has filed numerous recall petitions against Governor Rick Snyder and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzlement in December 2014, started the recall effort.  Petitioners need 14,474 signatures.

New Jersey: Park Ridge mayor resigns

Mayor Terry Maguire resigned after facing a recall petition over the handling of affordable-housing negotiations.

North Dakota: City Attorney claims Fargo Commissioner recall not allowed

There's a battle between Secretary of State Al Jaeger and Fargo City Attorney Erik Johnson over whether the recall of City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn is allowed under North Dakota law. The recall is over a bill that would let communities stop refugee resettlement in the area. Jaeger allowed signature gathering to begin -- petitioners need 3504 signatures. Johnson claims that the upcoming election runs over the one year grace period before an election. The issue is when that day starts -- Piepkorn is facing a vote on June 12, 2018.

Nevada: Storey Sheriff survives recall vote

Sheriff Gerald Antinoro beat back his recall vote over accusations of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and budget improprieties. The sheriff claimed that the recall was launched because of stricter enforcement by the department of a brothel owned by Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman (Gilman's Tahoe Reno Industrial Center spent $142,000 in support of the recall). The vote was 883-601.

Nevada: State Supreme Court rules that Judges aren't subjected to recall law

In its long delayed ruling, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that judges are not subject to the state's recall law. Both the ruling and the dissent hold that judges are "public officers" as provided for in the recall law, but the majority ruled that the recall law was superseded by the 1976 creation of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. According to the majority, the fact that the act creating the Commission didn't specifically mention recalls removed the recall as an option for future judges.

My recommendation is to read the dissent as I think the majority decision is a poorly reasoned one. The majority ruling is a very tortured way to protect judges from the recall -- one that other states very clearly don't follow. Allowing for impeachment or removal by a commission is very common -- it is odd and extremely unlikely that voters were voting to remove the recall at the same time that they were putting forth another method of removing judges.Nevada happens to have a very challenging recall law, thanks to another unusual Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that severely constricted the voters' ability to use recalls (a decision later signed into law with a later bill. Both may actually violate federal law as stated in Bush v. Gore).

The dissent also discussed the technicalities over the signatures against Ramsey, which was the original basis of her suit against the recall, but that is not handled by the majority.

Unstated in any coverage is that the Supreme Court issued this ruling after an incredibly long delay, one that allowed any voter anger to completely dissipate by the time the ruling was handed down. The recall was brought against North Las Vegas Municipal Judge Catherine Ramsey back in 2015. The Supreme Court took the case in July 2015, and heard oral arguments in October 2015. In that time, Ramsey admitted to misconduct, was barred from seeking reelection (she tried to run another seat), suspended, had to write apologies, take a fitness test and the city eliminated the judgeship. Does the Nevada Supreme Court normally take a year and a half to rule on election law cases or was this more of a gutless dodge?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Colorado: Park Hospital District Board resigns

All five members of the Park Hospital Board of Directors resigned effective May 1. Chair Diana Van Der Ploeg, Chuck Levine and Ryan White all were facing recall fights claimed bulling of hospital employees, White's address which may have been out of the district and Van Der Ploeg's serving a second term. The two other board members, Gerald Mayo and Steve Murphree, supported the recall.

North Dakota: Op-ed against recall of Fargo Councilman

Here

Taiwan: Recall effort continues against New Power Party Executive Chairman

Recall efforts continue against Chairman and legislator Huang Kuo-chang over his support for marriage equality. Petitioners passed the first stage and are looking to collect 25,119 signatures.

Missouri: Lee's Summit Councilman kicked out

Councilman Chris Moreno was kicked out in a recall , 1634-956 (turnout at 63%).Moreno was in the news over his bankruptcy and a press conference against Target's transgender bathroom policy.

Rhode Island: Providence Councilmember fighting recall in court

Here 

California: Newport Beach Councilman facing recall threats

Councilman Scott Peotter, a controversial conservative member of the council who emailed supporters in 2015 to criticize the gay marriage ruling, is facing a recall threat. Peotter is already fundraising off of the recall.

Update: Peotter has been served -- petitioners need about 8500 signatures.

Alabama: Editorial faults lack of recall for "Love Gov" Robert Bentley's continued political survival

Here

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Massachusetts: Barre Selectman removed in recall fails in write-in return effort

Selectman Richard P. Jankauskas, who was removed in a recall, received 192 write-in votes against one of the leaders of his recall effort. Gregory O'Sullivan beat Robert Milkman Jr. 310-120 in the race.

Colorado: Four Otis Councilmembers removed

Councilmembers Linda Bethel (11-25), Lana Rogers (123-16), Jesse Stackhouse (106-32) and Sue Stackhouse (104-33) were all removed. The recall seemed to be over a discussion in an executive session.

Rhode Island: Column explains City Council's "special inquiry" over Providence recall

Here's a look at what the special inquiry was an attempt to help Councilman Kevin Jackson, with 8 of the 15 councilmembers boycotting the inquiry.

Massachusetts: Uxbridge recall effort might move forward

While local officials apparently tried to kill the recall by not sending the proposal up to the legislator, the town's State Senator and State Representative have asked for it to be moved forward.

India: A look at proposals for a recall in India

Here

Maryland: Bowie Mayor and councilmembers facing petitions

Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson and Councilmembers Diane Polangin and Jimmy Marcos are facing recall efforts over a 4-3 decision to allow an old Marketplace shopping center to put apartments in a revitalization plan.

Alaska: Three Haines Borough Assembly facing petitions

Assembly members Tom Morphet, Heather Lende and Tresham Gregg are facing recall threats after the Assembly voted 4-2 to fire the firmer manager. There is also a claim that they violated an Open Meeting Act over a potential extension on the harbor project's breakwater. Morphet and Lende were elected six month ago, and one of the losing candidates was a sponsor of the petitions. Petitioners would need 258 signatures.

Update: This is moving forward

Missouri: Ferguson Mayor wins reelection race

Mayor James Knowles survived a reelection run -- Knowles almost faced a recall vote last year, with signatures just missing the total (though I've called into question this reading of Missouri recall law in Ferguson's case).

Missouri: Lee's Summit City Councilman ousted in recall vote

Councilman Chris Moreno was voted out with 63% casting ballots for his removal. He will be replaced by appointment. Moreno came under fire for his personal finances and bankruptcy issues, campaign finance issues, calls for limiting public comments on certain issues and a protest he held against Target's transgendered bathroom policy.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rhode Island: Five Councilmembers refuse to attend meeting on recall of Councilman

The meeting is to look into irregularities in the recall process in the recall of Councilman Kevin Jackson. The councilmembers feel that any possible complaints need to go to the courts or the regulatory bodies, not to the council.

Nigeria: State House of Assembly Speaker facing recall attempt

Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly Chief Chikwendu Kalu is facing a recall threat after claims that he received N1.2 million for a legal client to buy land and then accused the client of breaking in and stealing the money.He now claims that he said it was stolen and he refunded the money. The recall procedure is under Section 110 of the 1999 Constitution.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

California: San Francisco Mayoral recall fails

No signatures were handed in for the recall of Mayor Ed Lee.

California: Antioch School Board member facing second recall effort

Board member Debra Vinson is facing the second petition over claims that she mistreated school employees and made racial comments. The first petition failed because it exceeded the 200 word maximum by 26 words.

Missouri: Ferguson Mayor facing reelection race

The recall effort failed but now comes the reelection race.

Michigan: Westland City Council President recall petition approved

Petitions against City Council President James Godbut have been approved over his vote in favor of a citywide lighting assessment, a raise in water rates and a $10 million bond issue. Petitioners need about 5500 signatures.

Massachusetts: Uxbridge Selectmen fail to submit recall provision to legislature

Voters approved a recall provision for local officials at a special town meeting. However, the board of selectmen failed to forward the petition to the state legislature. It's not clear what the next steps will be.

California: Sonoma County Sheriff announced won't seek reelection

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas is not running for reelection after facing criticism over the shooting death of a middle schooler in 2013. A group recently claimed that they would try to recall Freitas over the shooting and over his position to work with federal immigration agents over possible deportation of inmates.

Texas: Controversy over Lubbock Councilman recall fails due to lack of petitioner signature

The recall effort against Councilman Floyd Price, which saw 631 signatures handed in (508 are needed, 10% must have voted for Price in 2012), appears to have failed because the City Secretary claims that affidavits were not signed by the petitioner. Petitioner Gordon Harris claims that the City Secretary said he had all he needed when he handed in the petitions. Harris intends to run for the city council seat.

Lubbock is also witnessing a recall against Councilman Victor Hernandez on November 5 led by former county commissioner Ysidro Gutierrez.

Massachusetts: Townsend Selectman files complain arguing recall invalid and unlawful

Selectman Cindy King, who is facing a recall over an investigation of the police department, is claiming that the recall should operate under a malfeasance standard/judicial recall law and needed a set group of causes listed. The petition listed malfeasance and neglect of duties, though it should like a judge will have to decided if it meets the requirement.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New Mexico: Tucumcari commissioners recalls on the ballot

The recall effort against Mayor Ruth Ann Litchfield (27/needed 17) and commissioners Amy Gutierrez (25/22 needed) and Ralph Moya (29/26 needed) have enough signatures to get to the ballot. Petitioners pushed the issue over fines that he got for keeping rusting equipment on his property.

The petition against the fourth commissioner Robert Lumpkin failed. Petitioner handed in 30 signatures, but 11 were tossed. He needed 23.

Arizona: Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District members facing recall effort

Board members Patti Lewis and Vic Riccardi are facing recall efforts which Lewis claims is being pushed by the firefighters union. The board voted 3-2 to temporarily rehire the former fire chief, though many firefighters and staff opposed the decision.

California: Second recall effort started against Lake Forest Councilman

A second recall effort has been started against Councilman Andrew Hamilton. The first one against Hamilton and other councilmembers over a road failed last year, though plenty of signatures were handed in. The petitioner claimed that Hamilton backed out of a discussion about a crosswalk, though the petition is about a vote in favor of contracting with the Orange County Animal, which has been criticized for a high-kill rate and dilapidated facilities. There's also a claim that he videotaped residents, looked to rezone a nursery and created aliases to post blogs about other councilmembers and created Facebook accounts with false information.

Petitioners would need 8834 signatures.

California: Oakdale Irrigation District recall on track

Supporters of board member Linda Santos filed a report claiming fraud, though it appears to have been rejected by the police department.

Rhode Island: Providence City Council calls special meeting over councilman recall

Here

Arizona: ex-Superior Mayor who was recalled last year pleads guilty for misdemeanor attempted theft, not serving time

Mayor Frank "Jayme" Valenzuela, who was removed in a recall in August 2016, plead guilty to misdemeanor attempted theft of town funds and will be sentenced to up to three years probation. Valenzuela was accused of using the town credit card for $2300 in cash withdrawals, including one at a casino. He was also fired from his job as a Pinal County jail commander.