Friday, May 30, 2014

California: Petitions taken out against two Tucumcari City commissioners

Tucumcari City Commissioners Amy Gutierrez and Rick Haymaker facing recall petitions for unknown reasons. The petitions were taken out by a losing municipal judge candidate in 2013, Gary Southern. According to the report, Southern said that he took the petitions out on someone else's behalf.

Haymaker was appointed on May 8 to fill an vacant seat. Southern was one of the interviewed candidates for the vacant seat.

Colorado: El Paso County Sheriff hears recall threats over sexual misconduct claims

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners is pushing Sheriff Terry Maketa to resign with a no confidence vote, while there is discussion of a recall. Maketa, in his third term, has been accused of favoring sexual impropriety (favoring several employees who he is alleged to have slept with). Petitioners would need about 44,000 signatures.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

California: Modesto City Council members are facing petitions

City Council members Dave Cogdill and Jenny Kenoyer are facing petitions over a vote to include Wood Colony in a general plan/blueprint for the city. The Wood Colony residents opposed the city's plan. Petitioners need 20% of registered voters in 120 days, Codgill 3,184 and Kenoyer 3.363

Wisconsin: Crandon mayor facing recall petitions

Crandon Mayor Rob Jaeger (in his second term) is facing recall threats over what opponents claim is his refusal to allow the public to speak at meetings and attempting to fire employees. Petitioners need 152 signatures in six weeks. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Philippines: Recalls stopped due to lack of funds by the government:

This is a new one -- they are claiming that petitioners aren't allowed to pay for the government's work either.

Michigan: Third try against Warren Mayor Jim Fourts

The other attempts were shot down on clarity/factual grounds.

Oklahoma: Delaware tribal chief facing petitions

Petitions have been taken out against Delaware Chief Paula Pechonick for violating the tribes constitution by firing two consultants.  Petitioners need at least 100 signatures.

Massachusetts: Charlemont town meeting to consider recall law

Charlemont's annual town meeting will include a vote on adding a recall provision to the bylaws. Petitioners would need at least 100 voters to start a recall, and at least 20% (of the town, but probably just registered voters) need to sign to get a recall on the ballot. Any removed official would be banned from serving in a town position for two years afterward.

Louisiana: Recall law changed to prevent ousted candidates from running in replacement race

Louisiana's legislature overwhelming passed a bill that would ban officials who were just removed in a recall from running in the replacement race. The bill is being called the "Deedy Slaughter bill" after the recently removed Port Allen mayor who got a third of the votes in her replacement race (but came in third).

Arizona: Cave Creek recalls get on the ballot

The petitions against Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk, and councilmen Mike Durkin, Charles Spitzer and Reg Monachino have each been found to have enough signatures to get on the ballot -- the recall sounds like it would be scheduled at the earliest date (election day, November 4). Petitioners needed to hand in 293 signatures -- it is unclear how many were turned in.

Two other council members were targeted in the early goings, but those efforts were dropped. The issue was the firing of the longtime Town Manager.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Texas: Houston Mayor, city council members facing threats over equal rights ordinance

Mayor Annise Parker and unnamed city council members are facing recall threats over their support for a proposed Houston equal rights ordinance. The likelihood of a recall is small for two reasons. One is that Houston is judicial recall/malfeasance standard city -- petitioners would have to show incompetence, misconduct, malfeasance of unfitness. The lead petitioners is claiming the ordinance shows incompetence, which probably will be extremely difficult to hold up in court.

Petitioners would need 42,500 signatures in 30 days to get the recall on the ballot against the mayor (25% of turnout). However, turnout is much lower in the city council seats, so that may be only 2,500 or so signatures (depending on the district).

Of further interest is the second part of this point -- that you can mail petitions directly to voters and have it returned. That seems quite different from most other states laws.

Gathering petition signatures has become a sophisticated undertaking. Sometimes when politicos launch petition drives they hire people to gather signatures in public places, but that causes trouble because many signers turn out to be ineligible. Another method -- mailing petitions directly to targeted registered voters with return envelopes – has proven more reliable.

Friday, May 23, 2014

New Jersey: Vineland mayoral recall gets more time due to big judicial ruling

Big news out of New Jersey that should have an impact beyond recalls. A Superior Court Judge extended the recall deadline for the attempt against Mayor Ruben Bermudez. Petitioners had 160 days (ending on May 19), but the judge has let them continue until a May 30 hearing. Here's the decision:

The decision seems to be similar to a Michigan court ruling that is currently being debated with regard to Representative John Conyers. The city restricted signature gatherers to only registered voters in the municipality itself (and also requires that they personally sign the recall petition).  Petitioners successfully (so far, at least) claimed that this was a violation of free speech and right of association.

 Petitioners need 9,447 signatures (25% of registereds), they claim to have 5,000 confirmed, and also claim that they have over 8,000 over all. Since New Jersey appears to have a very strict signature requirement (by the high percentage of signatures thrown out in other recalls), they will need significantly more. It could be that the new rules lower that strict requirement, but it is not clear by how much.

Also of interest is that one recall proponent went through the rolls, crosschecked them with obituaries to try and lower the total number of voters, and therefore lower the number of signatures. Never heard of anyone doing this, but certainly a good idea for petitioners (with some time on their hands) to try and emulate.

Hat tip to Mickey Brandt at the Grapevine who has kept on top of this.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kansas: Denison Mayor facing August 5 vote

Denison mayor Audrey Oliverius is facing an August 5 recall vote. Petitioners need 12 signatures, they handed in 29 valid ones. The mayor is facing the recall because she called council votes during an executive session (a violation of open meeting laws). There's also complaints that she didn’t receive formal training from the city or Jackson County. And the city clerk, city treasurer and utility supervisor have resigned.

Ohio: Pataskala City Council member facing recall petitions

An attempt has been started to recall Pataskala City Council member Pat Sagar (in her third term, first elected in 1999). No reason is known yet. Here's a little bit on recalls in Ohio.

Michigan: Gaines Township Treasurer, Clerk signatures handed in

Petitioners have turned in signatures against Gaines Township Treasurer Diane Hyrman and Clerk Michael Dowler. It seems like it was two separate people getting the signatures. Petitioner collected 809 signatures, they need 652, at least against Dowler. They collected 798 against Hyrman.

Dowler apparently took papers from a newly-elected Supervisor's office (he was upset at the election results. Hyrman is facing a recall over a police millage issue. Petitions are outstanding against Supervisor Chuck Melki (the former president of the Village), who also voted for the millage issue. Melki is the same supervisor who had the papers taken from his office.

Here's an earlier, excellent look at this recall by the same reporter, Eric Dresden.

Idaho: Kuna School Board member attracts recall

Kuna petitioners who are supporting a $6.38 million school levy (that was rejected by voters in March), are handing in recall papers against School Board member Michael Law who opposed the levy. Petitioners are giving in at least 45 signatures, they need 29. Recall would be held on August 26.

Tennessee: Chattanooga councilman pushes for examination of signature fraud in failed recall attempt


Louisiana: Fracking fight leads to attempt to recall President, 14 members of St. Tammany Parish's council

Another recall attempt in St. Tammany Parish's, this time against President Pat Brister and all 14 members of the Parish Council. If it went off, it would likely be the biggest single mass recall election in US history (hint, it won't happen). The issue is the Council's failure to fight a proposed fracking operation.

The original; filing of petitions were rejected because both the chair and vice-chair must be registered voters in the council district.  The same people chair/vice-chair signed all of the petitions (and they live in different districts), so none of the petitions are valid.

For Brister, they would need over 53,000 signatures (33 1/3 of registereds).

Michigan: Second attempt for recall in Warren shot down on clarity/factual reasons

The second attempt to recall Warren Mayor James Fouts and Clerk Paul Wojno was rejected over clarity and factualness. The claim against Fouts is over the settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit (arguing that Fouts threatened former city workers). Wojno was threatened over a dispute as to who is responsible for the removal of deceased registered voters.

California: Pleasant Hill City Clerk resigns rather than face recall

Pleasant Hill City Clerk Kim Lehmkuhl, who could not produce the City Council minutes for her first year in office, resigned in the face of a recall.

She apparently sent a "fiery" email, as you can see below in her resignation. resigned from her post as city clerk with a scathing email on Monday after facing ridicule in recent months for failing to produce a single set of City Council meeting minutes during her first year in office.
In the email sent to Mayor Tim Flaherty and City Manager June Catalano, Lehmkuhl described her time working for the city as an "atrocious, incredibly depressing, and mind-numbingly inane experience I would not wish on anyone." "I wish the City the best of luck in finding some schmuck eager to transcribe every last misogynistic joke, self-indulgent anecdote, and pathetic pandering attempt by Council, and every tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, racist aside, and NIMBY asshattery from the lovely council meeting frequent flyers, without which, surely our democracy could not flourish," she wrote.

Arizona: Two Sunnyside School board members ousted

Two Sunnyside school board members, Bobby Garcia and Louie Gonzales, lost their recall races on Tuesday. The two were supporters of the Superintedent. Rebecca "Beki" Quintero beat Garcia 58%-22% (19% to a third party)."

Eric Giffin beat Gonzales about 75%-25%. Garcia was in his first term, Gonzales was on for 16 years.  Turnout for the recall election was 15 percent — 4,076 ballots cast — of the 26,646 eligible voters in the district.

Arizona: Benson City Councilman survives recall

Benson City Councilman Jeff Cook survived his recall vote 793-386 (63.8%). Turnout was 28.9%.

Oregon: Recalls set for five Gardiner Sanitary District on June 17

All five Gardiner Sanitary District board members, Jackie Degman, Dennis Conger, Marc Fullhart, Cathy Kent and Charlotte Hinshaw, will face recalls on June 17. Petitioners only needed 17 signatures to get on the ballot.
The issue is complaints over contracts and negotations with Reedsport on wastewater treatment.

Nebraska: Grand Island elects new mayor

The recall attempt against Mayor Jay Vavricek over the removal of the city administrator failed, but that didn't help Vavricek's reelection race -- he got only 16% of the vote in a three person race.

Pennsylvania: Chalfont looking to vote on recall law


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

New Jersey: Request for extension in signature collection in Vineland mayor recall

Petitioners have asked for two more months to collect signatures for the recall of Vineland Mayor Ruben Bermudez. They need at least 9,447 valids.

Colorado: Bridger Canyon Fire District one vote lost upheld

The chairman lost 195-194. The recount upheld the total.

Massachusetts: Lancaster recall approved by Senate

The state Senate unanimously voted to allow Lancaster to hold recalls of Selectmen Jean Syria and Susan Smiley. The recall was over their votes against renewing the Town Administrator's contract. Lancaster does not have a bylaw for recalls, so they had to have a town meeting (on March 10) petitioning the legislature for special legislation.

Petitioners need 472 signatures (10% of registereds).

California: Alisal School Board recall set for September 9

The recall of Alisal Union School District Board of Trustees Meredith Ibarra was scheduled for September 9 in a wild meeting that saw Ibarra and some supporters kicked out.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Montana: Four Dillon city council members facing petitions, though city attorney rejects grounds for recall

Four Dillon city council members, Derek Gore, Nils “Swede” Troedsson, David Spehar and Lynn Westad, are facing petitions as part of a long-running fight over a lawsuit about a refusal to pay for water meters installed by the city.

The fight includes Mayor Michael Klakken in a big way -- he represents one of the homeowners in the suit, and he got rid of the city attorney and city treasurer (the second with reduced hours, who then quit).

The city attorney has said that the recall shouldn't be allowed -- petitioners are claiming that the council members violated open meeting laws by signing a letter to a district court judge on the case (Montana is a Judicial Recall/malfeasance standard state, hence cause is needed). Petitioners claim they will fight the ruling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Non-recall op-ed in City and State on the NY Lieutenant Governor position

I wrote this in today's City and State. I have previously written a paper on the benefits of split ticket Lieutenant Governor elections (as oppose to same ticket elections).

Arizona: Recall organizers demand oversight/transparency of school board recall


California: Sunnyvale councilman facing petitions after refusing to sign code of conduct

Councilmember Patrick Meyering is facing recall petitions led by (among others) a former mayor and vice mayor. In an op-ed, petitioners claim that Meyering "declares that everyone else is corrupt." He also apparently refused to sign the Code of Conduct and Ethics; his behavior may have pushed out the City Manager and City Attorney;  He also has been directed to stop disclosing confidential information, and had filed a since dismissed personal-injury lawsuit against the city. Petitioners need 8284 signatures (15% of registereds).

The op-ed claims this is the first recall in Sunnyvale history. It does have a questionable fact that most single-issue recalls fail. If they are talking about recalls failing to make the ballot due to lack of signatures, they are correct. If they are claiming that once they get to the ballot officials are more likely to survive the single-issue recall, well that's incorrect.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pennsylvania: Parents threaten recall by judge of Stroudsburg school board members with

Parents are petitioning for the removal of Stroudsburg School Board President Richard Pierce and Vice President Bruce Stewart. Petitioners believe they have 250 signatures for each, though it looks like most of those are of the online variety. The issue is how they dealt with the superintendent.  Pennsylvania does not have a recall law, but it does have a law that allows voters to petition a judge to remove school board members (the judge would appoint a replacement).
"However, there is a procedure in the school code whereby a certain number of residents can file a petition with the court seeking the removal of a school board member, or certain members of the school board who have willfully neglected their duties," said Stuart Knade, an attorney for the PSBA.
Sounds like they would need 900 signatures (20% of turnout) -- though I would guess the online petitions likely would not count.

Louisiana: St. Bernard Parish President facing recall petitions

St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta is facing another recall campaign, filed by a (barely) losing candidate for the council (Peter Rupp, who lost a runoff in 2011 by 16 votes). Petitioners will need about 8500 signatures (1/3 of registereds) in six months.

Rupp previously launched a recall against Peralta in 2012, but that didn't get on the ballot. Peralta was indicted last month on charges of sexual battery against his wife.

Peralta claims that Rupp is leading the effort after Peralta fired Rupp's wife as a legal secretary for the Parish (she gave Rupp her access code to enter the building).

Though the Parish hasn't had a recall since at least 1966, the previous parish president, Craig Taffaro, also faced a recall effort.

Monday, May 12, 2014

California: Alisal School Board recall on the ballot

The recall against Alisal school board Trustee Meredith Ibarra has been certified for the ballot -- petitioners handed in 650 signatures, and needed 455. Ibarra, in her second term, is the last board member who was alligned with a separatist movement (the May 1 Alliance). Ibarra has been accused of unrelenting questions and criticisms of the board president and the Superintendent.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tennessee: Fight continues in Chattanooga City Council recall

There's still some wrangling following the failure of the recall of City Councilman Chris Anderson. The petition failure rate was 60%, so that's certainly something to look at.

Idaho: Haily Mayor, City Council members facing petitions

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle and city council members Carol Brown and Martha Burke are facing petitions after they appealed a federal court ruling that stopped the city from collecting $2.5 million in fees from a company and struck down a requirement that the company (Old Cutters) build 20 affordable housing units. Petitioners would need 748 signatures (20% of registereds).

 Petitioners would also need more votes against the officials than they received in the last election.  Check the article out -- there's an interesting discussion of the lawsuit. 

Michigan: Two Onaway City Councilors Survive recall vote

Onaway City Council members Bernie Schmeltzer and Ron Horrocks survived Tuesday's recall vote. 168 votes were cast -- Horrocks won by 18 votes, and Schmeltzer beat two challengers 85-59-23. The issue was eliminating the police department (of one) and hiring the county Sheriff's department. Both of these two will face reelection in November, as will Mayor Gary Wregglesworth, who beat back a recall in November 2013.

Michigan: Petitions filed against 4 Lincoln Consolidated School Board Members

Petitions have been filed against four (of seven) Lincoln Consolidated Schools board members, President Kimberly Samuelson, Vice President Yoline Williams and two trustees: David McMahon and Connie Newlon. The school district apparently spent down its primary spending account, resulting in a state-mandated deficit elimination plan. 

Oregon: Five members of Gardiner Sanitary District to face recall vote

12 signatures were handed in and verified in the recall of the Gardiner Sanitary District members Dennis Conger, Catherine Kent, Charlotte Hinshaw, Jackie Deggman and Marc Fullhart. The recall was launched by a local business owner over negotiations with a city and questions of transparency in contracts.

Montana: Bridger Canyon Fire District will recount in one vote recall loss

This is for the 195-194 loss by Chairman Mike Conn. The other four members of the Fire District board survived their votes.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Montana: Bridger Canyon Fire Board Chair loses recall by one vote, other four members survive

Bridger Canyon Fire Board Chairman Mike Conn lost his recall race by one vote (195-194), though he can ask for a recount. He will be replaced by Jane Lerner. The other four trustees all survived the vote, Colleen Carnine (189-198), Margaret Foster (165-205), Dennis Guentzel (149- 219) and Dave McKee (169-216).
The recall seems to have begun after the trustees considered a plan to allow alcohol in the community room. The chief and at least 18 firefighters quit.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

California: Rialto school board has bizarre Holocaust-denying essay assignment

Here is the story of the assignment that was lifted from a Holocaust denying website, essentially asking students to argue for whether they believe the Shoah happened.

Perhaps it will not surprise readers of this blog that even before this disaster, members of the Rialto School Board were already facing recall petitions. I haven't seen anything to suggest a link between the recall and this assignment. The recall involved approval of contracts and a battle over the Superintendent (a frequent source of school board recalls).

The superintendent, who has since retired, had what is called a "personal relationship" with a district accountant who was accused of stealing $1.8 million in lunch money over 8 years, some of which she apparently smuggled out in her bra.

Looks like this will be a very tough road -- the law requires 10% of the signatures of registered voters in the district, which will be someone where in the neighborhood of 10,000 signatures each. Note that the actual vote for the two candidates (in a presidential election at that) was below 10,000. Astute readers of this blog may remember that petitioners could not get enough signatures for a recall against a Moreno Valley School Board member who was facing charges of attempted murder, rape, pimping and pandering (he's now doing 14 years).

Wisconsin: Judge grants preliminary injunction halting John Doe investigation

The latest turn in the John Doe investigation. The Judge has order the investigation ended and all of the investigation paperwork returned.

Michigan: New Buffalo kicks out two

New Buffalo Mayor Margaret "Migs" Murray and Mayor Pro Tem Ray Lawson were both ousted in Tuesday's recall.

Murray lost 341-146-14 to Donna Messinger (Si Osiri served as a third party candidate). Lawson lost 348-148 to George Scarlatis. The issue had to do with appointing new members and whether a new councilman should be able to vote for the new appointment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Arizona: Benson City Council recall on May 20

Benson City Councilman Jeff Cook is facing a recall vote on May 20 after less than a year in office. Carol Campbell is the opposing candidate. Check the article out for some details on the recall.

Michigan: Four ousted in New Haven recall

New Haven Village Council President Jammie Kincaid and trustees Jaremy Davis, Jennifer Podgurski and Daniel Stier all were kicked out of off in a recall held today. Kincaid lost to the current treaurer Selena Passeno (67.5% to 32.5%)  The other three were beaten by Kevin Chandler, Ann Pridemore and Daniel VanDeKerkhove.
All the officials were up for reelection in November.
The recall was over allegations of corruption, especially after the council "gave Kincaid approval to negotiate a deal to put a landfill at the northern edge of town, near the massive Pine Tree Acres landfill in neighboring Lenox Township."
Pridemore, who initiated the recall, beat Davis by a 64.4 percent to 35.6 percent margin, while VanDeKerkhove won out over Stier 62.6 percent to 37.4 percent and Chandler easily defeated Podgurski by 70 percent to 30 percent.

Idaho: Eagle City Council President facing petitions

Eagle City Council President Mary McFarland is facing petitions, seemingly over a decision to purchase park land and the use of eminent domain to acquire easements. McFarland won office in 2011. Petitioners need 2,459 signatures in 75 days  to get the recall on the ballot.

A little quirck in the law -- to remove McFarland, the votes in favor of a recall must "equal or exceed" the number of votes cast for McFarland in her last election (1187). This total must also be an absolute majority of votes cast in the election, so no plurality defeat.

California: Lemoore mayoral recall fails

The attempt to recall Lemoore Mayor Billy Siegel failed, with the petitioner claiming that they missed the signatures by 100 (though he also claimed some of the signers were invalid). Petitioners needed 2,300 valid signatures.

The recall appears to be prompted by the sale of a gold course, the elimination of the city's planning department and an email that has turned into a lawsuit.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Alaska: Recall Target Rep. Linsdey Holmes not running for reeelection

Holmes, whose decision to party jump from D to R right after her election led to a recall attempt, has declared that she won't run for reelection. The recall attempt was rejected by the Division of Elections (Alaska is a Judicial Recall/Malfeasance Standard state, and the Elections Division held that party jumping didn't met the standard for a recall). A Superior Court judge just upheld the Elections Division's ruling.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Michigan: Preliminary injunction halts Benton Harbor mayoral recall

A preliminary injunction has stopped next week's recall against Mayor James Hightower over allegations that dates were changed on signatures. Criminal charges have been filed against two of the petitioners.

This actually leads to a big problem for recall proponents -- due to Michigan law, injunction probably pushes the date of the recall into November.

Michigan: Fifth New Haven Village official facing petitions

Another New Haven Village Council member, Brett Harris, is facing petitions over a vote for a landfill (the idea has since failed). Four officials are facing a recall on May 6. Due to Harris' term, he can't face a recall until November.

Tennessee: Petitioners hand in signatures in Chattanooga city council recall

The recall of City Councilman Chris Anderson over a domestic partnership law is now at the critical stage. Petitioners have 793 valid signatures in the first 1526 checked --- a very poor response rate. They need 1600 valids to move forward. There have been claims that children were gathering signatures. There's still a possible court decision if the recall gets enough signatures.

Wisconsin: Candidate for Republican Assembly signed Walker recall petition

Sounds like this won't be a very successful primary campaign.