Wednesday, October 31, 2012

California: Moreno Valley School board member who faces manslaughter, pimping and rape charges will not face recall

Moreno Valley school board member Mike Rios, who has been charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter, rape, pimping, pandering charges, is not going to face a recall vote on November 6. Despite the charges, the recall group failed miserably in collecting signatures. They needed 9,266 valid signatures to qualify. One of the members said they collected 500.

Rios is set for trial on Jan. 14.

Here's the quick write up of the the charges:
In April, Rios was charged with pimping, pandering and rape. Prosecutors allege he persuaded or encouraged four women and two underage girls to work for him as prostitutes. Rios also faces attempted voluntary manslaughter charges. He is accused of shooting at two people who he said followed him home after a confrontation at a Moreno Valley bar.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

California: Santa Maria-Bonita School District Recall Missing signatures by at least 586

The attempt to recall Santa Maria-Bonita School District board member Will Smith failed to get enough signatures. Petitioners gathered 4,383 signatures, but they needed at least 586 more (plus the likelihood of failure for many of the signatures pushes that total up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

USA Today and the bloodbath of local politics

This touches on the Quartzsite, Arizona recall, but represents a good look at bitter battles in local politics.

Michigan: Detroit News opposes Troy Mayor recall

Editorial here

Colorado: DA who won office in 2005 recall facing the key recall backer in regular election

The 9th Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson came to office in 2005 after replacing DA Colleen Truden in a recall. Now, one of the key figures in the Truden recall is challenging Beeson in this year's election.

Texas: El Paso attorneys withdraw from recall case, blast judge

Two attorneys representing the attempted recall of Mayor John Cook and two city representatives have withdrawn from the case after accusing the judge of political bias, but the mayor's reps are looking for sanctions.
This is apparently the fourth judge they've accused of bias. And this latest judge was the one who ruled in their favor.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Montana: Missoula City Councilman facing recall threats

Missoula City Councilman Alex Taft is facing recall threats over his support for so-called granny suite, which are accessory dwelling units in single family neighborhoods.

Since Missoula needs a judicial election standard, the petitioners would have to show incompetence of malfeasance, as well as get 20% of registered voters to sign.

New Mexico: Two Eldorado Community Improvement Association Board members facing petitions over using chickens as pets

Two  Eldorado Community Improvement Association Board — president Ed Moreno and Jan Deligans are facing recall petitions for "spinning" the results of a referendum.

 The vote was over whether chickens should be allowed there there, since a covenant bans “animals, birds or poultry … except for recognized household pets." The referendum failed, as it needs an absolute majority of the 2,777 owners. 999 lot owners voted for banning chickens and 805 for allowing them.

The two members have continued to push for the law.

Texas: Proposal to move College Station recall from political to judicial (malfeasance) standard

As far as I know, this is the first time there will be a vote in a jurisdiction to change a local recall from the political recall to the judicial recall or malfeasance standard.

This is due to an effort last year to recall members of the College Station council (the effort was defeated at the polls). The newspaper is editorializing in favor of the idea:

• Number 1 -- This amendment would strengthen the city's recall provisions, requiring those seeking a recall of a council member to have a legitimate reason for the recall, such as incompetency, official misconduct or malfeasance in office. The reason for the recall would have to be prominently listed on each page of a petition voters are asked to sign.
This obviously stems from the misguided efforts by residents of Wellborn and political opportunists to recall several members of the College Station council over their vote to annex Wellborn.
The proposed amendment also would extend some of the timing on recall requests. The city secretary now has five days to certify the signatures on recall petitions; the change would give the city secretary 15 business days to forward the petitions to the council. Also, current provisions give council members facing recall five days to resign or force an election on the recall. The proposed change gives the council members seven calendar days.
• Number 2 -- This amendment also stems from the Wellborn recall attempt and would clarify a special election to fill a vacancy on the council if the mayor is no longer on the council. Under the proposal, the remaining council members would have to call such an election. If all council members are removed, then it would fall to, in order, the city manager, the city secretary, the city attorney or the presiding judge of the municipal court to call the election.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

California:Signatures filed against three Coastside Fire Protection District Board Members

Signatures were filed against three Coastside Fire Protection District board members, President Doug Mackintosh, Director Mike Alifano and Director Gary Riddell. Petitioners need 2,714 valid signatures. They submitted 3,290 for Alifano, 3,366 for Riddell and 3,327 for Mackintosh.

Oregon: Second try against two Baker School Board Members

Petitioners submitted nearly the exact number of signatures needed in the recall of two Baker School Board members, chair Lynne Burroughs and Mark Henderson. They brought in 918 for each, and they need 913. In July, the brought in 1066 and 1059, but missed by 3 and 13 signatures. Apparently, they have 16 days left and are just doing this to test the first 918.

The recall is about their vote to censure fellow board member Kyle Knight. One other board member voted for the censure, but is not facing an attempted recall. Knight is suing to reverse the censure.

Non-recall op-ed: LA Times piece on the Electoral College

The LA Times kindly ran my op-ed on the Electoral College. The key point (one that I believe most people don't realize) is that the College idea was not revolutionary -- it was a modification of one that was used by most of the post-Revolution states.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

North Carolina: Petitions handed in against Ronda Mayor, dispute as to whether town has recall provisions

A petition calling for the recall of Ronda Mayor Victor Varela was handed in. Petition alleged misconduct of "unprofessional behavior." Petition was signed by 76 people.

The petitioner claims that the recall attempt has nothing to do with the failure to appoint him as a commissioner or "the town’s consideration of a nuisance ordinance that would require him to remove his chickens from his property."

Ronda Charter from 1917 allows the recall, requiring signatures from 25 percent of turnout. There will be some issue here as the mayor argues that "a particular chapter or version for recalling elected officials was never chosen in 1920 when the charter was adopted."

Information from the N.C. School of Government provides a list of the following towns with recall capability, but Ronda is not on this list.
They are Aberdeen, Asheville, Cajah’s Mountain, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Foxfire, Greensboro, Hickory, Lewisville, Lumberton, Oak Island, Pinebluff, Pleasant Garden, Raleigh, Randleman, River Bend, Statesville, Troutman and Winston-Salem. Recall is also permitted for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board.  No counties have recall for their commissioners.

Texas: El Paso School Board members can't face recalls, but law proposed to change that

El Paso Independent School District board trustee is facing threats after a major scandal, but they cannot be recalled because  "they are considered county officials under the Texas constitution and only district judges can choose to remove them."

Two local representatives are working on bills to allow recalls of school board trustees. Two bills allowing the recall were filed in 2001 and 2005, but did not pass.

Georgia: Fayette County Board of Education member facing recall threat

Fayette County Board of Education member Bob Todd is facing a recall threat for criticizing the school superintendent's leadership and allegedly talking about firing the superintendent (which occurred earlier this year, with a $200K termination package). The leader of the recall would like to expand the effort to all school board members, though one of the other members needs to hit the 180 day limit before a recall can be initiated.

Note that Georgia is a judicial recall state, requiring cause:
The recall of an elected official in Georgia is a three-step process, the first of which is to apply for a recall petition, to name a chairperson, cite a reason for the recall efforts and provide the signatures of 100 people who were registered to vote in the preceding election.
Recall efforts in Georgia must fall under at least one of five categories. \
If the application is found sufficient by the elections office, the recall petition can go forward and will require the signatures of 30 percent of the active voters registered and eligible to vote in the preceding election. In Fayette County, that number will require more than 21,000 signatures. Those signatures must be obtained within 45 days of the time the petition was issued. If found sufficient, it will trigger a recall election.

Arizona: Quartzsite's mayor finally reseated

Ed Foster, who was removed in a recall in August 2011, and then won a new term this year, was finally seated as Quartzsite’s mayor. Foster was prevented from serving because he owed a court judgment to the town.

California: A look at the Costa Mesa recall threat

Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer called the recall a "political stunt." The link article discusses the effort.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

UK: Recall law facing further delays

The all-party Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee questioned the recall procedure though the Conservative government said it will need more time to develop the plan. However, Sadiq Khan, the opposition Labour's shadow justice secretary, claimed that the statements showed that the recall plan is being tossed out.

Michigan: Petition language for recall of Detroit mayor rejected

The petition language for the recall of Mayor Dave Bing was rejected on a 2-1 vote.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Non-Recall Op-Ed in The Atlantic: Everyone Hates the Moderators—So Let's Just Get Rid of Them

The Atlantic was kind enough to run this article I wrote on changing the debates.

Kansas: Three Baxter City Council members facing recall votes on Nov 6

Three Baxter Springs City Council members, Gary Allen, Ron Costlow and Ed McAfee, will be facing recall votes on November 6. Council members have been in a fight with Mayor Jenifer Bingham. Here's some more details.

Washington: state Supreme Court rules against Quilcene Fire Commissioners facing recalls, election set for Nov. 13

The state Supreme Court shot down the attempt to stop the recall of Quilcene fire commissioners David Ward and Mike Whittaker. The recall is set to occur on November 13.

The two have faced complaints (and the resignation of the fire chief), after they created a chief operating officer job and hired Ward for the position.

Wisconsin: Recalled state Senator Hopper arrested

Former state senator Randy Hopper, who was one of the Republicans to be ousted in last years recall, was arrested on drunken driving, domestic abuse, trespassing and misue of telephone charges.

Friday, October 19, 2012

California: Atwater School Board Trustee kicked out in recall after already resigning

Atwater School Board Trustee Sheila Whitley, who resigned under fire on July 27, was formally kicked out in a recall this week, losing 154-23.

Whitley had voted to fire the School District Superintendent (a decision that was later reversed by the board). Her resignation came to late to cancel the recall. Turnout was 10 percent, and only 16 people came to the box (every one else voted by mail).

Michigan: Troy Mayor recall dividing community


The reporter notes that: "Recall elections are rare in Michigan." This seems inaccurate, as Michigan had 31 recalls last year.

The most recent officeholder to be recalled was state Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, who was ousted by voters last year.
In 2009, Flint Mayor Don Williamson resigned while facing a recall election.
Oakland County's last recall election, in 2003, targeted then-Pontiac Mayor Willie Payne, who won, according to Joe Rozell, the county's elections director.

Colorado: Trindad School Board recall hits snag

The attempt to recall Trindad School Board President Charlene Bertolino hit a procedural snag, as the petitions do not contain the sentence: ‘each signature on the petition section was placed on the petition section in the presence of the affiant.’ The clerk and recorder's office issued the ruling, not a court.

Petitioners need 1,187 signatures and got 1,429.

Note this avenue of appeal -- The ruling says: “However, please recognize that (state statutes relating to petitions for candidacy and recall) provides for circular affidavits that do not require the specific language that ‘each signature on the petition section was placed on the petition section in the presence of the affiant.’ We recognize this ambiguity in the law, but believe we must reject the filing of the petitions under (state statutes).”

The recall is based on Bertolino's support for school superintendent Dr. Manuel Rodriguez.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

California: Lake Elsinore recall leader sentenced

The nominal leader of the failed recall against Lake Elsinore city councilman Thomas Buckley was recently convicted of conspiracy to commit campaign fraud in the recall effort and sentenced to three years probation.

Enelida Caron agreed to testify against Michael Knight (her former employer) who is alleged to have concealed Knight’s role in orchestrating and financing the campaign.

The effort led to a February 2010 election, in which voters decided to keep Buckley in office. He lost his bid for another term in November 2010 in the regular City Council election, however.

Knight pled guilty to misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit a crime and falsifying campaign documents and received a 90 day sentence. Knight was facing up to 9 years.

According to Buckley, Knight targeted him for opposing allowing live performances at Knight's Trevi Entertainment.

Washington: Pacific mayor appeals recall ruling

Pacific Mayor Cy Sun has appealed the ruling allowing petition efforts to go forward in his recall. The city may lose its insurance coverage if Sun remains as mayor and, according to the piece, without insurance "the city could face disincorporation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

California: Costa Mesa city council member facing recall threat

Costa Mesa city council member Jim Righeimer is facing a recall threat. Petitioner is ran and lost two unsuccessful council bids in 2008 and 2010. Petitioners would need about 8,900 signatures (15% of registereds).

The issue is Righeimer's support for a traffic mitigation agreement between the city and Newport Banning Ranch LLC, which is attempting to develop a nearly 400-acre parcel in West Newport.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

North Dakota: Two Mayville City Council members facing January recall

Two City Council members, Mike Carr and Larry O’Brien, will be facing a recall vote on January 16. Petitioners handed in 104 valid signatures.

The motivation for the recall is their votes to eliminate the position of city public works director -- vote was 4-2 (the other council members did not run for reelection).

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Mexico: Raton City Commissioner petitions fall short

The attempt to recall four Raton City Commissioners has apparently failed, with the clerk knocking off 68 to 76 signatures from each of the four petitions. Petitioners needed 194 signatures per. They had turned in 239 for Mayor Pro Tem Chris Candelario had 239 signatures; Commissioner Neil Segotta had 245, Commissioner Jimmy Fanelli had 230l Commissioner Sandy Mantz had 208.

Canada: Recall law adopted by Jocelyn Township

Jocelyn Township on St. Joseph Island in Ontario recently passed a recall law -- though, with a very high signature requirement. Petitioners need two-thirds of turnout (500 votes in the last election).

The article also discusses the recent decision by Sudbury city councillors to vote down the Mayor;s recall proposal.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

California: Rio School District recall fails

The threat to recall three Rio School District board members, President Eleanor Torres and board members Henrietta Macias and Ramon Rodriguez, failed as no signatures were handed in at the deadline. Petitioners would have needed 2,641.

Friday, October 12, 2012

California: San Francisco Sheriff survives Board of Supervisior ouster vote, now facing recall threats

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have voted to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi who faced calls for his ouster (and was suspended by Mayor Ed Lee) over domestic violence charges. The vote was 7-4 to remove, they needed 9 to kick him out.

Now comes the recall, though it will not be easy. They need on the order of 47,000 signatures. The last SF official to face recall was Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1983

Supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Aaron Peskin faced recall threats in 2007, and former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell in 2003 and 2010, though none got to the ballot.

Nebraska: Grand Island Mayoral recall effort doesn't get the signatures

The recall against Mayor Jay Vavricek failed to get enough signatures. Petitioners (who didn't turn in the signatures) claimed 3,109 signatures, needed 3,286.

UK: Conservative MP backs recall law

Conservative MP Mike Weatherley has signed an early day motion calling for a recall (though probably the same limited recall as proposed by the government).

Nebraska: Franklin County Sheriff and County Attorney recall petitions not handed in

An attempt to recall Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Archer and County Attorney Patrick Duncan failed, with the petitioner not handing in signatures.

Idaho: Ada County Commissioner candidate supports recall

Ada County Commissioner candidate Larry Rincover has announce support for a recall of Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre, though there is no known recall attempt.

Michigan; Petition approved against Cedar Springs mayor

Petition language was approved for the recall of Mayor Charlie Watson on the use of a logo for the Red Flannel Festival.

Michigan: Detroit Mayor facing recall threats from State Rep.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is facing a recall threat over shifting the city’s public health department over to a private nonprofit institute.

Democratic State Rep. John Olumba is behind the threat. He has requested an investigation by the Attorney General over the move of $50,000 in city funds into private accounts for a nonprofit Institute for Population Health without approval of the City Council. The money was put back in after the council objected.

California: Greenfield recall victors facing reelection


New Mexico: Raton mayor resigns as signatures turned in

Signatures have been turned in for the Raton City Commission recall, though the Mayor Charles Starkovich has already resigned.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Washington: New filing for recall of Snohomish County Executive

A new petition has been filed to recall Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. The first petition failed because petition failed to swear out her allegations under oath. Here's some details on the recall and the original failure.

California: Friends of Dana Point Library recall stopped by judge

An attempt to recall the Friends of the Dana Point Library was stopped with a preliminary injunction. This was after the first attempt to hold a recall was stopped by a TRO. The judge ruled that the petitioners did not properly notify all current members of the organization (they sent notice to a 2010 list). However, the petitioners claim that the board would not provide a current membership list. Since the annual meeting and board election is on December 9, the recall looks like it won't take place.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Michigan: Jackson City Council recall attempt rejected as petitioner doesn't live in city

An attempt to recall four Jackson City Council members was rejected by the elections director due to the petitioners not actually living in the city. Petitioner, the head of the Jackson Area Landlord Association, has complained about a severance package for the former City Manager and a stormwater fee. Mayor Martin Griffin and council members Derek Dobies, Laura Dwyer Schlecte and Daniel Greer were all threatened with the recall.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Washington: Seattle School Board member facing recall threats

Seattle School Board member Sherry Carr is facing potential recall petitions. The issue is Carr's vote to allow schools to become Creative Approach Schools (which appear to be a watered-down version of a charter school).

As with other Washington State recalls, a judge has to approve it, which may be a high hurdle to overcome.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nebraska: Fine against petitioners in failed Newman Grove recall

Some fallout from the failed recall of Newman Grove mayor Fawn Steiff. One of the petitioners, who was the wife of the previous mayor, was fined $1,000 for making false statements under oaths (that she witnessed the signatures).

New Mexico: Petitions handed in for Five Raton City Commissioners

Very good write up here. Petitions have been handed in against five Raton city commissioners. The reason may have to be thought out a little bit more for campaigning purposes:

 Ward Shrake, who told The Range he is seeking the recall not because of “any one specific thing that any one specific commissioner had done, or not done,” but rather “the slow realization that I couldn’t come up with any specific positive things that any of them had actually done, individually or as a group...”

An interesting factoid here:

While state law specifically includes the recall option in the manager-commissioner form of government under which Raton operates, the law makes no reference to allowing for recall in a mayor-council form of government.

Mayor Charles Starkovich, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Candelario and Commissioners Neil Segotta, Sandy Mantz and Jimmy Fanelli are the targeted officials.

State law sets the required number of registered city voter signatures for a recall petition — in order to bring about a recall election — at the greater of the following: more than 20 percent of the average number of voters who voted in the last four regular municipal elections or more than 20 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last regular municipal election. 
In Raton, the average number of voters who voted in the last four regular municipal elections is 967.3, producing a 20-percent mark of 193.5, giving a rounded number of 194 signatures necessary on the petition against any individual commissioner. A total of 939 voters — 20 percent of which is 187.8 — voted in the last regular municipal election in March.
The recall requires not only a majority of votes, but that the votes equal in favor of the recall equal or top the recalled officials winning total in the last election.

Raton removed three commissioners by recall in 2010.