Sunday, November 29, 2015

Illinois: Mayor's supporters attempting to gather signatures against three Dolton trustees

Some more details on the Dolton recall that is now before a judge (ruling expected next month). Mayor Riley Rogers' supporters are leading the charge -- they need 891 signatures (25% of turnout in the last mayoral election) -- though it may be that the signatures have to be from the voters who actually voted (the story is unclear -- and I'm not sure that requirement passes muster). Petitioner needs to have it in by December 14, with a vote on March 15.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Texas; Petitions against Denton's council member over fracking rejected due to filing too early timing issues

The attempt to recall Council member Joey Hawkins was rejected, because the signatures were handed in too early. Hawkins was elected on May 9 and sworn in on May 19, when the 180 day clock starts (petitioners cannot submit a recall until the official has been in office 6 months). Petitioner handed in 125 signatures and need 76. The issue is Hawkins vote to overturn an initiative banning hydraulic fracking.

There is also an ongoing effort to recall council member Kevin Roden.

Oklahoma: Midwest City Mayor recall set to make the ballot

Petitioners handed in almost 1100 signatures for the recall of Mayor Dee Collins. They only needed 433. A former police officer is going to run (Collins himself is a former police officer).

South Dakota: Two Hartford Councilmembers resign after vote to reject mayoral recall petitions

The vote was 4-3, but the resignations were one from each side.

Texas: Crystal City Mayor, Councilmen recall not moving forward due to "absurd" interpretation of high signature bar requirement

Crazy story here, but one that fits into the usual pattern: Efforts to recall Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez and Councilmen Roel Mata and Marco Rodriguez have hit one of the usual sources of trouble -- administrative attempts to kill a recall.

The City Attorney/Manager James Jonas III (who is described as the "ultimate target of the recall" for reasons seen below), tossed out more than 1200 signatures after ruling that the petitions require more signatures based on an extremely novel interpretation of the law. Apparently (and I can't verify this info online -- Crystal City's got a big Popeye picture on the webpage, but not much else), 1931 people voted in the general election on May 9 that sets the standard for the recall. Crystal City has a requirement that petitioners get 51% of turnout, which would seem to require about 966 signatures. However, Jonas has decided to count the total votes of both council races combined as the number needed -- which is something over 3600 votes. Therefore, petitioners would need over 1800 signatures

A former Director of Elections for Texas (in the Secretary of State's office) calls the ruling "wrong" and "absurd." I can't recall a similar interpretation of the signature law, though also worth noting that the 51% requirement is extremely high.

The petition lists Jonas' contract, increasing taxes and utility fees and a failure to provide an audit. However Jonas seems to be the issue -- he is a former Republican DC lobbyist who was once jailed for failure to pay child support (he pays between $11K-$12K a month in child support). His pay is apparently three times what the town formerly spent on a city manager and part-time city attorney and his $216,000 salary is about half of the town's total $500,000 yearly property tax receipts.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kansas: Topeka council member facing recall threats over aggravated battery against children charges

Topeka Council member Jonathan Schumm is facing recall threats due to an investigation of aggravated battery against children. The article notes the difficulty of getting a recall on the ballot

Arizona: Recall effort against Tucson School Board fails to hand in signatures

Here and some more info here.

California: Some more details on the recall effort against Carson City Clerk

There has been a number of stories about the recall of Carson City Clerk Jim Dear. This is the first one that I've seen that focuses on his proposing a statute of Ataturk.

Illinois: Chicago Tribune Columnist argues that lack of recall law protects Mayor Emmanuel

Here -- this is after the release of the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting. It notes that Buffalo Grove has passed a law in 2010 to recall one specific councilwoman, and the state has one as well for the Governor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Louisiana: Washington Police Chief targeted in recall

Washington Police Chief Ronelle Broussard is facing petitions, as 323 people (40%) signed the petition. It is now at the Parish register of voters record. Broussard is in his second term, and the criticism seems to be based on his actual work performance.

Massachusetts: Enough signatures handed in for recall of Rowley Water Commissioner

Tim Toomey is facing an upcoming recall.

Arizona: Two Members of Apache County's Concho Fire Board Kicked out

Here -- looks like Tracy Candelaria and Pat Murphy lost, though hard to find any more detail than that.

Arizona: One Central Arizona College Governing Board Member resigns before recall vote

Rita Nader, facing a recall over tax rate increases, resigned rather than face vote.

New Jersey: Lopatcong Township mayor threatened with recall

Lopatcong Township Mayor Tom McKay (R) is facing recall threats over a contentious relationship with the Township Clerk/Administrator and claims that he sexually harassed a township employee. McKay has only been in office since January.

Wisconsin: Arcadia voters oust incumbent Counil members

Mayor John Kimmel has been kicked, defeated by Rob Reichwin (who won with almost 70% of the voters).

Idaho: Signatures handed in for Driggs Recall

Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson is under the gun, with petitioners needing 154 votes in the election.

North Dakota: Barnes County North School District Chairwoman facing petitions

Barnes County North School District Board Chairwoman Lori Carlson is facing petitions following the resignation of Superintendent, Principal, and Activities.

Michigan: Greenleaf Township signatures handed in

Petitions were handed in against Greenleaf Township Clerk Lori Mazure over allegations of her using zoning documents to benefit her husband's successful recall run. Petitioners handed in 114 signatures, they need 50.

Kansas: Sedgwick County Commissioner recall rejected by DA

The recall effort against Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau has been throw out by the district attorney, who claims that the petitioners have not stated a valid claim. Ranzau voted to reduce health care funding..Petitioners would have needed over 9500 signatures. Petitioners may appeal.
Read more here:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

North Dakota: Barnes County North School Board members facing recall threats

Barnes County North School Board Members Lori Carlson and Dan Size are facing recall threats over claims of micromanagement, arrogance, not listening to parents and not attending graduation and other functions. The recent resignation of a superintendent seems to be the impetus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How Election Timing Matters

Looks like an interesting book by Sarah Anzia.

Myanmar: Discussion on recall law continues


Arizona: Camp Verde Vice Mayor rescinds recall

Vice Mayor Bruce George resigned last week in order to avoid an expensive city recall (the issue was an increase in sales taxes). However, the court held that the recall had to go forward regardless of his resignation, so he has rescinded it and will be facing the voters on March 8.

Oregon: Clatskanie Mayor survives recall

Mayor Diane Pohl survived the recall vote with 53.44 voting to retain her. Turn out was 403-851 voters.The issue was the resignation of the police chief over allegations of racist remarks and how soon the resignation was accepted.

The recall arose in response to the Aug. 19 resignation of Police Chief Marvin Hoover following allegations that he made racist remarks. Two Clatskanie officers told state officials that Hoover imitated a howling monkey and then sang Dixie during a discussion about a complaint of racism. The complaint was filed July 20 with the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, which has yet to make a finding in the case (as of today).
The recall petition asserted that Pohl should not have rushed to accept Hoover’s resignation prior to completion of the state investigation. Hoover was given four months pay, about $27,000, and also gets to collect retirement pay.
“Had mayor Pohl taken proper action, it would have saved the taxpayers of ... Clatskanie from undue monetary expense,” the petition asserted.
Pohl claimed that the city put Hoover on paid leave immediately upon hearing the allegations and that she accepted his resignation on the advice of the city attorney and Hoover’s lawyer.
Another completely unrelated matter became a backdrop the the recall effort. Pohl’s husband, city planning commissioner Ray Pohl, faces charges that he exposed his genitals o to a worker at a drive-through coffee stand over a two year period. The alleged victim finally filed a complaint with the Oregon State Police, saying his connections left her nowhere to complain in Clatskanie. Ray Pohl’s case is not yet scheduled for trial, but a pretrial conference is slated for March 16.
Pohl has declined comment on her husband’s case.
Elections officials said 851 voters were eligible to cast ballots in the race, and turnout was at 43 percent as of late Tuesday morning.
“This is most loving community I have ever been in. I’m grateful to be mayor and to be able to represent them in a positive way,” Pohl said.

Kansas: Petitions finally filed against Sedgwick Commissioner over immigration/WIC proposal

Here and here's some more on the subject

Missouri: Jennings Mayor facing petitions

Jennings Mayor Yolanda Fountain-Henderson is facing a recall effort after the Mayor allegedly sued the city to challenge an ordinance that guarantees non-elected city employees four-year terms (I've never heard of a law like that). Petitioners need more than 2000 signatures.

Arizona: Group plans on releasing signature number against Top School Official in December

This is against Dianne Douglas and they need a whole lot (366K) signatures to get on the ballot.

Alaska: Petitions against Four Anchorage School Board members rejected by city

Petitions to recall Anchorage School Board President Kameron Perez-Verdia and board members Tam Agosti-Gisler, Pat Higgins and Kathleen Plunkett were all rejected by the city. The petitioners claim that the officials violated state regs over the vote for school bond debt reimbursement by putting up signs for bonds and paying for a public survey on capital projects.

South Dakota: Hartford City Council rejects Mayoral recall petition

Hartford City Council voted 4-3 to reject a petition to recall the mayor (petitioners had 314 signatures). The council claims that the issues did not meet the malfeasance cause standard.

Massachusetts: Townsend Selectmen petitions require separate petitions

I've actually been asked this question before, and so apparently has the town counsel for Townsend -- if you are trying to recall two or more officials, you need separate petitions and separate signatures for each one. In Townsend's case, they are trying to recall Chairwoman Carolyn Smart and Gordy Clark. Petitions need 10% of registereds, with at least 125 from each precinct -- that means at least 614 signatures, and thy have 21 days. There is a turnout requirement -- 25% of registered voters must participate for the recall to count.

The issue is claimed open meeting act violations and the filling of a town administrator position.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Missouri: Kansas City Council face petition threats over failure to agree to submit tax incentives to voters

Kansas City Council members are facing petition threats after they didn't vote to approve petitions that calls for the city to submit tax incentives to the voters.

Virginia: Article on Portsmouth Mayor recall effort

Here and here's what it's about.

California: Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors facing petitions

Rosamond Community Services District Board of Directors Ed MacKay, Olaf Landsgaard and Dennis Shingledecker are all facing petitions  over claims that they have spent too much and turned over too much power to the nearby city of Lancaster.

Petitioners need 1676 valids by December 8.

Michigan: Filing against Governor Snyder rejected

A hand-written petition to recall Governor Rick Snyder (R) over Flint's water troubles was rejected by the board of canvassers. The petitioner, Angelo Scott Brown had previously signed petitions multiple times in the recall attempt against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Alaska: Barrow North Slope Borough Mayor facing petitions

Barrow's North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower is facing petitions for a recall over allegations of campaign finance violations and misuse of public funds, specifically $8400 to send five of her grandchildren to basketball camp and tens of thousands on cakes and crafts and clothes bought from her daughters. One of her daughters is married to the former borough assembly president (who was defeated in a runoff this week).

Alaska is a maleasance standard/judicial recall state, and requires a specific showing of cause.  Petitioners need 492 signatures by January 8 (25% of turnout).

Texas: Signatures handed in against Denton City Council member over hydraulic fracking vote

125 signatures were filed against Denton City Council member Joey Hawkins. Petitioners need 76 valids. If Hawkins loses the article says that seat apparently will stay empty until a special election on the next regular election date, which is November 8 (this seems wrong, but we'll see).

The petitions started after Hawkins (and Kevin Roden, who is also facing petitions) voted to repeal a citizens initiative that banned hydraulic fracking in Denton (there were questions over whether the ban could have been defended -- regardless, the Texas legislature overrode it).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Arizona: Guadalupe mayoral recall set for March 8

Mayor Rebecca Jimenez is facing a recall vote on March 8 over charges that she committed welfare fraud (she failed to disclose that her children's father was living with her).

Arizona: Central Arizona College Governing Board Member calls petitioners "transplanted out-of-state infiltrators"

Rita Nader, who is facing a March 8 recall race, has attacked the leader of the recall effort against her as a "bully" and claims tat the effort is being led by "Transplanted out-of-state infiltrators. Petitioners handed in 1817 signatures, 1525 were valid. They needed 1326.

California: Hollister School Board recalls threatened over Brown Act replacement

The Hollister School Board voted 3-1 to replace former Board President Ben Flores without holding a real meeting to discuss their choices. This is alleged to constitute a Brown Act -- aka  Open Meeting Law -- violation. The petitioners are gathering signatures looking for an election against the newly appointed commissioner Mike Baldwin. This isn't a recall -- petitioners need at least 265 signatures (1.5 % registereds).

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Idaho: West Ada School Board fires Superintendent

The West Ada School Board, which has been facing recall threats, has fired the School Superintendent Linda Clark. Clark had resigned last month.

Michigan: Benton Harbor Mayor ousted in general election

After multiple attempts to recall Mayor James Hightower, ones that resulted in convictions for the primary petitioner Reverend Ed Pickney, he was ousted in a regular election loss to Marcus Muhammad.

Nebraska: Split decision in Decatur, one loses by single vote

Decatur Village Board Member Alta Wolf lost her recall race by one vote 89-88. Loretta Kellogg survived 100-76. The claim was that they were conducting business outside of the meetings.

Massachusetts: Townsend Selectmen facing recall threats

Selectman Gordy Clark and Chairwoman Carolyn Smart are facing petitions with a claim that they violated an open meeting law by hiring a company to conduct the search for a new police chief.

California: Petitions filed against Vallejo Mayor, three councilmembers

Mayor Osby Davis, Vice Mayor Jess Malgapo, and Councilmembers Rozzana Verder-ALiga and Pippin Dew-Costa, are facing petitions over their failure to develop zoning regulations which caused a proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries. This grows out the passage of a medical marijuana law in 2011 (and a 10% tax on it). The council voted to shut down all the MMDs this January

Massachusetts: Signatures handed in for Rowley Water Board Commissioner recall

The recall effort against Water Board Commissioner Tim Toomey moved forward as petitioners handed in gathered signatures. They need 1200 valids. The issues include placing the water supervisior on leave during an executive session that wasn't advised by the town counsel.

South Dakota: Signatures turned in against Hartford Mayor

314 signatures have been turned in against Mayor Bill Campbell -- petitioners need 264 valids. They got the signatures in 9 days.

Campbell was elected uncontested in May, and has faced pressure over ending the economic development director position (which was reinstated by a 63% popular vote). The issue seems to be over Campbell's method of running meetings, including threatening people with ejection for laughing.

Canada: Online petition calling for recall against Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

Of course, I don't believe they actually have the recall provision in Ontario, so not likely to matter.

Arizona: Central Arizona College Governing Board President avoids recall

The recall attempt against Gladys Christensen has been tossed out, after she sued over the validity of the signatures that were approved last week. The petitioners, the Citizens for Fair Taxation, settled the case and dropped the recall. Christensen claimed that the petitioners left the petitions out at locations and they were signed with nobody watching. Petitioners were found to be 10 signatures short.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Arizona: Camp Verde Vice-Mayor resigns after court okays recall

Vice Mayor Bruce George quit his position rather than face a recall (he noted that by resigning, he saved the town $30K)

Arizona: All four Oro Valley Council members survive recalls


Maine: Anson voters easily approve recall law

Anson voters adopted the recall 290-80. This recall law was started after it was alleged that the former tax collector stole $438,712.

California: Retiree Community kicks out two Golden Rain Foundation members, who refuse to leave

Laguana Woods' Golden Rain Foundation directors, President Kathryn Freshley and Secretary Mary Stone were removed. The vote was in a special meeting of the 27 housing mutual directors. But the two directors claim that the recall was illegal and have kept taking their seats. It sounds like it will get messy and of course, there will be lawyers.

California: Calimesa Councilman hit with recall petitions

Calimesa Councilman Jim Hyatt, who is on his 5th term -- in office 17 years -- is facing petitions over his refusal to push for the prohibition of very large warehouses in the city. Petitioners need about 900 signatures (25% of registereds) in 60 days.

California: LA Community College District Student Trustee facing recall from defeated opponent

L.A. Community College District Student Trustee Milo Anderson is facing a recall, starting the day after he was sworn in. The person he defeated in a Spetember Special Election, Ryan Navarrete, is pushing the recall over what he claims are problematic election procedures. Navarrete has faced off against Anderson twice already.

Petitioner needs signatures of 35% of turnout in the previous student trustee election at all LACCD colleges -- 879 votes were counted, therefore he would need 307.

Missouri: Springfield Mayor facing petitions over nondiscrimination ordinance

Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens is facing threats of a recall, with a petitioner claiming that he is drawing up the petition now. Stephens was "mostly silent" on nondiscrimination ordinance for sexual orientation and gender identity. As the article notes, petitioners think that Stephens "Stacked" a task force in order to get a recommendation to expand the nondiscrimination ordinance.

Petitioners would need about 7900 signatures.There is no timeframe for the signatures, except that it has to take place before six months from the end of his term, thereby ruling out November 2016 (Springfield's recall has to line up with an existing election).  Springfield already has an ongoing recall effort against Councilman Justin Burnett on nipple issues.

Michigan: Covert School Board recall language approved on third try

This is for the recall of School Board President Diana Parrigin, who was arrested for marijuana possession.

Wisconsin: State Senate votes to kill GAB


Arizona: Superior Court rules that Camp Verde recall must go forward

The odd City Council cancellation of the recall against Camp Verde Vice-Mayor Bruce George over a sales tax increase has been tossed out, by a Superior Court Judge. The recall will not be scheduled for March 8.

Nebraska: Neligh editorial says recalls should only be for "serious offenses"

From our perspective, the reason we didn’t want to see the recall effort succeed — and we’ve made this same point on several previous occasions involving different communities and different individuals — is that we don’t believe recall efforts should be undertaken simply because a decision is made that some disagree with. 
 Recalls should be reserved for situations where elected officials are guilty of serious offenses — financial misconduct, ethical improprieties, continued offensive behavior, an unwillingness to carry out one’s duties as an elected officials and the like.

Georgia: Meigs Mayor misses deadline to appeal recall effort

Mayor Linda Eason Harris failed to appeal the recall effort against her -- petitioners collected 62 signatures and she had 10 days to go to court to try and get the recall tossed out. Georgia is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state and rarely do the courts greenlight a recall effort, so Harris really missed an opportunity to head this one off. That being said, this recall may very well have met the standard:

Harris was arrested for misuse of funds (it may have been $80) and seemingly for threatening the City Manager and for misuse of funds and has taken part in what some are claiming to be voodoo rituals. She has also been essentially banned from all council meetings, as she is ordered to stay away from the Manager. The city is in danger of losing its insurance, perhaps because of Harris' continued role as Mayor.

Petitioners need 116 signatures of registered voters in 30 days.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Florida: Reversal of Fortune in Brandenton, as mayor who was tossed out in recall wins back his seat in a card draw

Crazy result in Bradenton Beach. To quickly recap, in May, Bill Shearon was ousted in a recall by the Vice Mayor Jack Clarke 185-172 (the issue was a violation of the Sunshine law) . Shearon and Clarke had a rerun race on Election Day, and this time the vote was tied 195 each. So, they went to a pack of cards. Clarke got a 10, Shearon an Ace. So Shearon is now once again Mayor.

We've seen recall reruns, we've seen reversals, but never in this fashion.

Texas: 5th Circuit rules that churches can start recalls and form super PACs to launch recalls

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that churches and other nonprofits are allowed to lead an effort to recall an official and form a super PAC (where they would pool their money, but not coordinate with any candidate). The decision seems to have rejected the 2012 state appellate court ruling that tossed out an attempt by congregants to recall the mayor and city council of El Paso.

The ruling came out of the political movements by some churches who were upset over perceived pro-gay city ordinances adopted in 2013 in San Antonio and Houston. The churches planned to launch recalls against San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and the city council and against Houston Mayor Annise Parker, though both recalls were rejected by Election officials. As a side note, the delay did kill these recall efforts -- Castro is no longer mayor, and Parker was just term-limited out.

The decision seems to reject Texas Election Code Section 253.094(b), though it doesn't explicitly strike it down as unconstitutional, because the court rules that the churches don't have standing:

Here's the statute: “A corporation or labor organization may not make a political contribution in connection with a recall election, including the circulation and submission of a petition to call an election.”

And here's an applicable point from the ruling:
Despite this statutory language, the Commission has consistently taken the position, as asserted in its appellate brief, that in light of our precedent, it cannot and does not enforce Section 253.094(b) “to prohibit Plaintiffs, or any other corporation in Texas, from making ‘political contributions’ to entities registered as direct-campaign-expenditure-only political committees.” 

Michigan: Two Greenleaf Trustees survive recall vote

Trustees Randy Schuette (156-69) and Ken Brown (159-64) survived Tuesday's recall vote, which was over the purchase of a building by the township without board approval. On May 8, a separate Trustee, Kirk Winter, was ousted over this issue, so interesting turnaround.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Arizona: Four Oro Valley officials survive recall vote

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath (51-43%), Joe Hornat and Ryne Hartung (51-49%), Mary Snider (50-35-14%) and Lou Waters (51-48%) all survived recalls. The recall was about their vote to buy the El Conquistador golf and country club for $1 million

Idaho: Two Caldwell School Board Members tossed

School Board members Leif Skyving (142-121) and Amy Rojas (296-227) were removed over their firing of the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent.

Due to the vagaries of the law, Rojas needed as many votes against as she got in the last election (which was 98).Skyving's recall just needed a majority.

Petitions are still be circulated against Caladwll School Board Trustee Tom Briten.

Florida: Brandenton Beach rerun election ends up tied

This is a great one -- Brandenton Beach Mayor Jack Clarke, who won office on May 19 by ousting former Mayor William Shearon in a recall (at the time Clarke was vice-mayor), is now tied with Shearon in their rematch for the seat. Thanks to a one provisional ballot, the two are deadlocked at 195-195. It may be coin flipping time.

Massachusetts: Fall River Mayor, who won office last year in recall victory, loses in first election

Sam Sutter, who took the job of mayor in a recall election last year, has now been ousted in a general election vote.

Michigan: Cottrellville Supervisor and Township Clerk removed in recall

Cottrellville Supervisor Kelly Fiscelli (296-172-86-75 Fiscelli had the 75 votes) and Township Clerk Lori Russelburg (448-174) were kicked out. Russelburg was replaced by Angie Viola, and that recall was over a late payment of township bills. Fiscelli was replaced Mary Agnes Simons.

California: Selma and Golden Plains School Board members ousted

We got one story with results from two different cities: Selma School Board Members John Lorona (66-34%), Roger Orosco (59-41%), and Gilbert Lopez (59-41%) were all kicked out over their vote to remove the Superintendent. They were replaced by Mark Falcon, Andy Montijo and Sara Rodriguez.

Golden Plains school board members Richard Gonzalez (77-22%), Luis Ramirez (74-25%) and Maria Gomez (77-23%) were removed after voting to end a Superintendent's contract. They were replaced by Thomas Fairless, Sal Parra and Leticia Fernandez.

There was a difference in how the people voted in the two cities. Golden Plains had an at large vote, while Selma was only by district.

Arizona: Glendale Councilman ousted in recall

Glendale Councilman Gary Sherwood was kicked out of office yesterday, losing 54-46% to Ray Malnar, a Republican Party committee chairman. Sherwood lost over his support for a casino and the Arizona coyotes management of the local arena. Sherwood announced that he plans to seek the seat in August 2016 race.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Colorado: Jefferson County School Board Members kicked out

The Denver Post is calling the election  -- and Ken Witt (64.3-35.6%), John Newkirk (63.7-36.2%) and Julie Williams (64.3-35.6%) have all been removed. The clean sweep is a normal occurrence in recalls, so that's not a surprise.

Maine: Anson to vote on whether to adopt a recall law on Tuesday

Here -- this came about after the former tax collector was accused of misappropriating $400K

Michigan: Cottrellville Township Supervisor facing recall and possible "quo warranto" trial over moving out of township

Kelly Lisco is facing a recall (which came about partially over an Open Meeting violation), but that is not the end of her troubles. Lisco moved out of the Township and a judge has agreed to allow a quo warranto claim (challenging her legality to serve in public office) to proceed. The plaintiff is looking to have Lisco repay her salary, benefits and transportation reimbursements.

Monday, November 2, 2015

California: More Homeowner Association recalls, this time near San Diego

These always seem to be the most brutal -- here's a big write-up about Greystone at Eastlake Vista, a 269-unit condo.

Colorado: Ballotpedia ranks Jefferson County School Board recall as top election to follow


School Board Recalls: At least 307 attempted since 2012; 24 officials kicked out, 21 resigned, 13 survived vote

Once again, a recall election is arguably the most fascinating election of the year. As opposed to some of the past famous recalls, the big one this year is for a minor political position: three School Board members in Jefferson County, Colorado, Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk. Yet we’ve already seen reports that over a million dollars has been raised by both sides in what has to be one of the (though not the) most expensive school board races of all time.

The Jefferson County recalls are at the cutting edge of education policy, with a debate over the political dimensions of education (here’s a quick synopsis of the issues). The elected officials are conservatives who have been pushing on issues such as charter schools and performance-based pay (and, most notably, one of them called for changing the AP US history curriculum to be less negative about different events – this went nowhere, but got a lot of press). The recall is backed by unions and other more liberal groups. I should also point out that the recall language mentions open meeting law violations – this is almost a standard charge.

There’s been plenty of coverage of the recall, but there hasn’t been much about the prevalence of school board recalls in general. Though they are under the radar, school board recalls are a common occurrence. There will be eight others taking place on Election Day – three in Selma, California, three in Golden Plain, CA and two in Caldwell, Idaho. There is also one already scheduled for February 2 in Lucerne, CA.

Perhaps most prominently among other outstanding recall efforts, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is facing petitions that were discussed even before she was sworn in. In that one, which also has a very strong conservative v. liberal political dimension, petitioners claim to already have over 100,000 signatures in that one (they need over 366,128 and Arizona has notoriously exacting signature requirements that frequently result in a  40% rejection rate).

While the recalls are rarely as starkly political as the Jefferson County one, we see the same problems crop up: Fired superintendents or even football coaches, closed schools, preferences for one type of school over another. Sometimes the issues are more personal, and sometimes they are odder – one attempt that didn’t get on the ballot involved a school board member who was indicted on charges of attempted murder, rape and pimping. Another saw a member accused of sexting with a 14 year old student. But we do see one constant – if you can get the recall on the ballot, the officials have a great chance of losing.

Let’s look at some stats: from 2012-2015, there have been at least 304 recalls attempted against school board members. The vast majority of those failed to get enough signatures to get on the ballot. Only 58 of those attempts have resulted in either of vote or a resignation (the resignations frequently take place before signatures are handed in, but I still count them). Of those 58 results, 24 officials were kicked out, 21 resigned and only 13 survived the vote. Here’s the breakdown by year, and I including 2011 totals (I did not add in, as I was not keeping track of attempts at that time):
2015 – 6 officials have been removed, 4 have survived and 10 have resigned. (In Center, Colorado, 2 board members were kicked out in March, and a third board member survived the vote).

2014 – 5 School Board members were removed in recall and 3 others resigned. Four officials survive a recall vote (2 in Colorado, Peak-to-Peak Charter School – the vote was actually against the board members, but the district had a supermajority requirement, the board president of the Star Academy Charter School resigned in the face recall as well)
2013 – 6 removals, 4 resignations, 2 survivors
2012 – 7 removals, 4 resignations, 3 survivors
2011 - 9 recalls, 3 resignations, 4 survivors (I did not compile the recall attempts in 2011, so that I didn’t include it in the breakdown).

We certainly see some bad news for the Jefferson County board members. In general, most recalls result in an ouster and this is certainly the case with school boards. But of course, past performance is not indicative of future results. The positive is that we’ve seen the “clean sweep” is a usual result in a recall – if one of them wins, there’s an excellent chance that all of them will win. The other positive for the board members is that Colorado voters have historically been less willing to kick out officials in a recall election than voters in other states. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Michigan: Petitioners threatening Three Rivers School

Following the failed attempt against three Three Rivers School Board members, petitioners (the TR Cares group) is threatening recalls in 2016 against four other members (one of whom was on the effort in 2015). Carl Barth, Pete Bennett, Diana DeGraaf and Erin Nowak are all in the cross-hairs. The petitioners are also targeted in the general election the county clerk Lindsay Oswald, who tossed out signatures against the petitioners.

The recalls all come out of the decision to fire three administrators.

Arizona: Petitions validated against two Central Arizona College Governing Board members

Signatures have been validated against Central Arizona College Governing Board Members Rita Nader and Gladys Christensen. Petitioners handed in 2835 signatures against Christensen, with 2217 being validated (they needed 2200). Petitioners handed in 1817 signatures against Ross. 1525 were validated, petitioners needed 1326.

The recall started after the board raised the college's share of property taxes by 48% (Which was later reduced to 20%). The commissioners also targeted two other board members, Jack Yarrington and Rick Gibson though both of those efforts failed.

Oregon: Kalamth County Commissioner facing recall announced run for second term

Kalamth County Commissioner Tom Mallams, who is facing recall petitions due on December 21, announces that he is running for reelection regardless. Petitoners claim that they have 1200 signatures out of the 3426 needed.

California: Lake Forest City Council members facing petitions

Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voights and councilmen Andrew Hamilton and Dwight Robinson are facing petitions over campaign donations by real estate developers (sounds like it was about $85K to different PACs). The council later approval a residential project by the same developers and especially the construction of new medians which petitioners are claiming are too wide and create a safety hazard.

Petitioners need 7882 signatures (20 % of registereds) in 120 days. The city claims that the recall would cost about $160K to $250K.