Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Michigan: More on Snyder recall

Here, asking about the chances of a Snyder recall (slim and none, and slim just left) and more interesting, an interview with Michigan Director of Elections, Christopher Thomas. Thomas notes that there is a very big hole in a recall of a Lieutenant Governor. The legislature suggested that the LG would be appointed by the Senate, though a previous Attorney General ruled that this law was unconstitutional. Total catastrophe there, though a recall is so unlikely.

Arkansas: Fayetteville Councilman called to resign over challenging barista over her gender

Councilman John La Tour is facing some issues after getting into it with a waitress.

Arizona: Central Arizona College Board recall dropped, but now looking at no confidence vote on new member


North Carolina: Asheville Councilman facing recall threats over DUI

Councilman Cecil Bothwell is facing calls for a recall or resignation after going over .10 on his BAC test. Petitioners need 15% of registered voters.

Arizona: Primary Day debacle leads to calls for recall of Maricopa County Recorder

After ultra-long lines plagued Maricopa County on primary day, there is calls for the recall of Recorder Helen Purcell.

Tennessee: Crossville Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilman facing petitions

Crossville Mayor Pro-Tem Pamala Harris and Councilman Danny Wyatt are facing petitions over their move to remove the City Manager (which failed 3-1) and their failure to support the Horizon Initiative (a cooperative agreement between numerous jurisdictions) over cost concerns.

Petitioners seem to be active in the local Tea Party. Apparently, the petition will require 33% of registered voters 2,135 signatures. It will be due by May 6 to get on the August 4 ballot and June 24 to get on the Election Day ballot. This is an appointed replacement race, and for removal, they need a 6% supermajority to succeed.

Idaho: Judge rejects attempt to stop West Ada School District recall

Two of the three trustees tried to get their May 17 recall tossed out, but the attempt was rejected by a judge. The recall requires signatures equal to 50% of the vote in the trustee's last election. The two trustees argued that the minimum number should be based on last November's supplemental levy vote. This position was rejected.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Canada: MLA facing petitions over school closure

MLA Linda Larson is facing recall threats over failing to show up for a meeting on a school closure.

Texas: Smith County Judge not able to be recalled, but legal petition may be used

Smith County Judge Joel Baker, which is actually the county's top position, is facing a push for removal over sending a thousand sexually explicit messages while on state and county trips. While the mayor can face a recall, the Judge cannot. He has to be removed by a court case.

South Dakota: Two bills from the aftermath of Hartford recall disaster vetoed

Two bills that were designed to prevent a repeat of Hartford Mayor Bill Campbell recall debacle, one of which would have prevented a councilman voting twice and the other removing the ability to judge signatures from the city council were vetoed by the governor.

Nebraska: Madison mayor facing recall over appointments

Madison Mayor Alvin Brandl is facing recall threats over his appointment of officials, and not conducting city business openly. Petitioners need signatures from 170 registered voters.

Wisconsin: Gearhart mayor bows out of reelection run

Mayor Dianne Widdop, who survived a recall with 64% in her favor, is not seeking reelection, Widdop served only one term, though she was first elected to the city council in 1995.

Alabama: Governor sext scandal leads to call for recall law

The recent sext/sex scandal regarding Governor Robert Bentley is leading to calls for Alabama to adopt the recall -- not the first time we've seen the state ask for such a law.

Texas: Crystal City Mayor running for reelection despite recall resignation

Mayor Ricardo Lopez, who was recently arrested with other Crystal City officials, stepped down in the face of a recall. He's now looking to run for the position again (and then run for Lieutenant Governor).

Friday, March 25, 2016

Michigan: Petitioners still undecided on recall petition language

The petition date against Rick Snyder is starting on Sunday, but petitioners are uncertain which petition language they are going out with. To get on the ballot in November, they would need to hand in the petitions on April 29.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Missouri: Columbia Councilwoman who resigned her seat now looking to run for County Commission

Ginny Chadwick, who resigned her Columbia City Council seat in the face of a recall, is now running for the Boone County Commission. Chadwick was pushed out over her flipped vote on the decriminalization of marijuana.

Maine: Tremont puts a judicial recall law on the intiative ballot, despite voter desire for a political recall here


Colorado: Castle Rock Mayor, councilmembers facing petitions

Castle Rock Mayor Paul Donahue and Council members Renee Valentine and Mark Heath are facing petitions from opponents of community growth. Annexation provisions seem to be a basic problem.

Canada: University of Manitoba Student Union President facing petitions

UMSU President Jeremiah Kopp is facing a recall threat led by the vice-president of the Arts Student Body Council. Petitioners have more than 1000 signatures, nut need at least 2100., though Kopp's term end at the end of April. The issue seems to be spending.

Non-Recall Op-ed on the 1924 convention

Unfortunately, I didn't get to use the H.L. Mencken quote, but maybe next time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Arkansas: Fayetteville Alderman facing threats over his alleged harassment

Fayetteville Alderman John La Tour is facing a potential recall threat (2500 online signatures) after an incident with a server at a restaurant (some accounts claim that La Tour "offered to expose himself" though he denies that).

Pennsylvania: Lieutenant Governor pushing for recall of Democratic ward leader

Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack III stepped down from his leadership of a the 58th Ward in Philadelphia and backed the committeeman Mike Kates (who won). Now Stack is trying to have Kates removed from the job in a recall (though this is over Stack's old Senate seat -- Kates backed a candidate opposed by Stack).

Stack needs the backing for the Democratic ward leaders to let the recall push forward -- and it has to be done 60 days of the election.

Alaska: North Slope Borough Mayor heats up before April 5 vote


Oregon: Senate President now facing petitions

Senate President Peter Courtney (D) is facing an attempted recall by Matt Geiger, who lost the race for the House District 22 two years ago, and just dropped an independent bid for the same seat. State Rep. Julie Parrish is listed as an authorized agent of the recall, though she says that was just a favor to Geiger.

Different issues are cited here -- one on a bill that bans the sale of electricity produced by coal, the other on an upcoming initiative dedicating a portion of the Oregon Lottery to be dedicated to veterans programs -- some legislators wanted it to be 3%, it's now at 1.5% and going to the voters.

Petitioners would need 4760 valids in 90 days. If the recall succeeds, a Democrat would be appointed to replace Courtney (Oregon doesn't have a replaced race). They've already raised $5000 from a lumber company.

Canada: Editorial finds merit in Wildrose recall proposal, but opposes based on the numbers

This op-ed seems to oppose the Wildrose recall attempt on the numbers -- the law would require 66% of turnout (an enormous number, generally). They prefer the British Columbia totals of 40% of voters.

The article also has some good stats on British Columbia's use of the recall -- there were 26 petitions approved in the last 20 years, though only six were considered substantive enough to allow for verification. Five of those failed, and in the sixth, the guy resigned (Paul Reitsma, a Liberal MLA from Vancouver Island who was writing letters under assumed names).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Texas: Keller Mayor battles back against upcoming recall vote

Keller Mayor Mark Mathews has started campaigning against his May 7 recall, including issuing videos on his site. The issue appears to be about development policies and conflict of interest claims. Some more on this one here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bloomberg Editorial on "Stop the Recall Madness"

I'm hoping to write-up a larger article on the phenomena of editorial anti-recall positions. Here, Bloomberg's editorial team notes that: "If managerial mistakes are sufficient for recalling elected officials, no mayor or governor in America is safe."

Amazingly, they seem to miss the fact that most governors and mayors are not subject to recall. Only when voters go to the trouble of adopting recall laws, usually overwhelmingly and in the face of opposition by editorial boards and elected officials, can these officials face a recall for "managerial mistakes."

Texas: Floresville recall apparently killed by judge

A Senior Judge apparently killed the recall effort against Floresville Mayor Sherry Castillo and councilmen Daniel Tejada and Juan Ortiz. The claim is that the petition should have been filed earlier to get on the May 7 ballot -- though in the brief write-up I've seen, it doesn't mention the council's filibuster of the recall. The recall wouldn't be held on Election Day in November because the seats are up for election the same day (though a Michigan State House recall had that occur once before in 2008). Hopefully, we'll see more info on this -- Texas' courts have not been friendly to recalls.

South Africa: Calls for ANC to recall President Jacob Zuma


Ohio: Upper Arlington recall still collecting signatures

Seems like the organizers of the recall over a public park -- sounds like they are going for a high cushion, though the story was unclear as to when the signatures have to be handed in. It actually sounds like nobody knows when they are due.

Taiwan: Commission recommends fines against Appendectomy Project be overturned

The Appendectomy Project was fined over violating Article 86 of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act which forbids publicizing ongoing recall campaigns. The election commission hit the organizers with an NT$600,000 fine in its work against KMT legislator Alex Tsai (the recall needed 50% turnout to be valid).

Colorado: Colorado Springs Councilwoman who survived recall censured by council

Councilwoman Helen Collins, who survived a recall vote in April, was censured for ethics violations. Her friend was sentenced to two years over probation violations from the same real estate deal that caused Collins' the censure.

Canada: More on the Wildrose attempt to add a recall in Alberta


Colorado: Parachute Trustees and Mayor ecall upcoming

This is another one of the marijuana recalls against Mayor Roy McClung and trustees Tim Olk and Tom Rugaard.

Arizona: Organization filed to recall Peoria Councilwoman

An organization has been started to recall Peoria Councilwoman Vicki Hunt over raising taxes. Petitioners would need 478 signatures.

California: Fallbrook Public Utility District changes to terrritorial election system, which effects recall law


North Dakota: Stutsman County Sheriff facing petitons

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser is facing petitions after firing a deputy in February. Kaiser is in his second term.

The issue is a touchy one, the deputy reported another deputy and Kaiser's son on charges of using a Sheriff's vehicle to pull a Jet Ski. The tip proved false and the investigation by the state's attorney yielded no charges. But the third deputy fired the investigator.

Petitioners need 2330 signatures (25% of the governor's vote) in one year.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Texas: Battle over paying for legal fees in El Paso Mayoral recall attempt heads back to court

El Paso Mayor John Cook is still suing Tom Brown who tried to kick Cook and two council members out of off -- the recall was tossed out by a judge before getting to the ballot. Cook is looking for $700,000.

Canada: Wildrose puts forth new recall proposal

This would include a requirement that signers get 66% of voter turnout to get a recall on the ballot, and that it be launched 18 months into the term. Still not getting any traction, though. They got 10,000 signatures supporting the idea.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Non Recall Op-ed: The Favorite Sons

I don't expect anything like this to happen in this crazy election, but worth considering the idea of the Favorite Son candidacy. The Republicans were actually using it in Ohio and Florida, so it's not that odd of an idea.

California: More on Golden Rain Foundation recall -- hearing tentatively denied

The attempt to reverse the recall of Golden Rain Foundation directors Kathryn Freshley and Mary Stone was tentatively denied by a Superior Court judge.

California: Two Yorba Linda Water District Board members facing recalls over rate raise

Gary Melton and Robert Kiley are facing petitions over a move to raise rates 380% over five years. Petitioners need 9520 signatures. Two other board members are up for election in November as well.

Michigan: NYT story on Snyder recall efforts


New Mexico: Letter by former Las Cruces Charter Commission member on attempts to revise laws


Texas: Richmond charter up for May 7 vote; includes recall law

The recall provision would make recalls harder to get on the ballot. The law currently has a 30% of turnout versus 150 signatures (Whichever is greater) to get a recall on the ballot. They are looking to change the law to 300 signatures.

Colorado: Petitions taken out against Castle Rock Mayor and councilmember

Mayor Paul Donahue and Councilmember Renee Valentine are facing petitions over Donahue's leadership stule, which includes "Dramatically reduced allotted time for public comment" and being deferential to out-of-town developers. Donahue is in his second and final term, which expires in November. Petitioner need 25% of turnout, which is 147. The need 368 for Valentine.

Canada: Toronto Sun editorial on adopting recall


Friday, March 11, 2016

Arizona: Phoenix City Councilman hearing recall threats over same-sex marriage/transgender bathroom issues comments

Phoenix City Council Michael Nowakowski (D), who is facing criticism over his objections to same-sex marriage and transgender bathroom use, is now facing recall threats. Nowakowski has voted in favor of these issues and he said his comments were about the prayer in the council meeting issue (which we've seen before).

California: Lake Forest recall effort leads to further wrangling

Here and here's the earlier backstory

Texas: Another Crystal City Council member resigned

After a judge required a recall election, Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata resigned. He joins Mayor Ricardo Lopez in resigning in the face of a recall vote (Mata's brother Roel Mata also resigned, but he wasn't being targeted). Councilman Marco Rodriguez is still facing a recall vote, though that is on charges of transporting undocumented immigrants.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Arizona: Guadalupe Mayor tossed out

Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez was kicked out, losing to Councilwoman Angie Perez 81%-18%. This is over their taking a plea deal to avoid felony welfare charges. The Vice Mayor Andrew Sanchez led the recall effort.

Texas: Crystal City recall set for May 7


Montana: Glacier County Treasurer recall pushed off until March 29

The recall against Glacier County Treasurer Mary Ann Boggs was pushed off until March 29 due to an error in publication of the notice.

Idaho: Idaho City Mayor kicked out

Idaho City Mayor James Obland was kicked out of office over six different issues, including issuing a temporary liquor license, threatening to have Segway riders arrested and ordering police to cite ATV drivers on the highway.The vote was 141-33.

Arizona: Camp Verde Vice Mayor survives recall vote

Vice Mayor Bruce George survived a recall vote 1020-898 (52.82%-46.50%) against Leah Robbins. The issue was a sales tax increase.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rick Snyder and the recall -- a match that isn't happening

I wrote the following piece for Taegan Goddard Political Wire.

The political scandal surrounding Flint, Michigan’s poisoned water debacle is showing no signs of slowing down. Prosecutors are now at least talking about filing manslaughter charges against appointed officials. For elected officials, especially Governor Rick Snyder, the revelations have come with a heavy political cost. There have been at least 10 recall petitions filed against Snyder recently, and three have been approved (though one of them is about a school reform law). There is clearly a big push to punish Snyder. And yet, at least as far as the recall goes, he probably doesn’t have much to worry about.

This may seem surprising. Over the last 13 years, two Governors, a Lieutenant Governor and 20 state legislators have faced recall votes over far less headline-grabbing events. Two of those legislators were in Michigan; one of them was the Speaker of the House.  The recall is also extremely popular in Michigan. The state consistently ranks among the yearly leaders in recall -- in 2015, there were 19 local races that made the ballot or saw a resignation in the face of a recall, which is second in total to California (which had 20). But these facts must contend with a series of complex problems that voters face.

One is the sheer amount of signatures that petitioners would need to gather to kick out Snyder.  In Wisconsin in 2012, 540,208 valid signatures gathered in 60 days were needed to force a recall of Governor Scott Walker. In California, a state almost four times the size of Michigan, they needed 897,158 signatures gathered over the course of 160 days to get on the ballot. A recall of Snyder will require 789,133 in 60 days.

 The reason for the stark difference in proportional signature totals between California and Michigan is a quirk in the law. California’s Governor has one of the lowest recall signature requirements of any state (12 percent of voter turnout in the last election), while Michigan has a much higher requirement, though fairly requirement of the signatures totaling 25 percent of voter turnout in the last election for the office.

Wisconsin may give petitioners some hope, but they shouldn’t get to excited. Wisconsin also has a quirk in its law that makes a recall much easier to get on the ballot. In Michigan all petition signers must be registered voters in order to count to the 800K signatures. Wisconsin requires the signers only “eligible voters.” This is obviously a significantly larger pool to draw from. It is also easier to get through the signature verification process, because there is less likelihood that the signatures will be thrown in a cross-check with voter lists. As a general rule of thumb in Michigan, 15% of the signatures are found to be invalid and thrown out. In a big recall, where plenty of people are combing through the signatures with a fine-tooth comb, that number is likely to be higher.

The recall backers will likely also run into a serious problem of who will actually put up the dough for the effort. While recalls can be one of the last true independent citizen-backed movements, anything requiring close to a million verified signatures is going to take tons of money.  Collecting signatures takes plenty of money; so does fighting attempts to kill the recall in court. The Wisconsin recalls saw labor groups put up serious money; the California recall saw Congressman Darrell Issa pledge over a million dollars to pay for signature collection. That money is just needed to get a recall on the ballot. An election fight will take tens of millions of dollars as well – the Scott Walker recall campaign costs over $125 million.

There have been labor-focused efforts to remove Snyder before – one claimed to have collect 500,000 signatures before failing. But it may be a tough sell for unions to go after Snyder following the expensive and failed campaign against Walker. School reform efforts have played a role in Jefferson County, Colorado recall efforts this year. But the amount of money needed to remove Snyder is orders of magnitude greater than the million dollars spent kicking out three obscure school board members.

Another problem is time. For one, the recall has to be started this year. Michigan’s law prevents any recall from being filed during the Governor’s first or last year in office, so a clock has started ticking. There is also the fact that Snyder is term limited and in his second and final term. There is less value to removing him than ever before.

But all of these issues pale when compared to the biggest problem -- who replaces Snyder. There’s no vote for a replacement. Thanks to a 2012 change in the law signed by Snyder, if the Governor is kicked out, his running mate, in this case Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, steps up into the role. There has recently been a filing against Calley that was rejected. But that won’t solve the problem. Even if you would remove the LG, the new Governor would be the Secretary of State, followed by the Attorney General. All of these officials are Republicans.

Beyond all of these questions, there is an added political dimension to the recall. If a recall is held on Election Day, will this affect the presidential race? It is very likely that the Democratic presidential candidate will not want this on the ballot in a crucial must-win state for the party and may take efforts to stop the movement.

Rick Snyder’s has plenty of problems in Michigan and it seems that the Flint story is going to get worse. But Michigan’s law and the different barriers to using the recall may mean that he can take comfort in the fact that he is probably not facing the voters again.

Venezuela: Attempt started to recall President Maduro

An attempt to recall President Nicolas Maduro has started, which would make Maduro the second Venezuelan president to face a recall vote (after his predecessor Hugh Chavez). The opposition party needs 4 million signatures and needs to top the vote total that Maduro received in his 2013 election.

South Dakota: State legislature looks to remove power to set recall from City Council's hands

This comes out of the recall attempt against Hartford Mayor Bill Campbell, which never made it to the ballot it due to the work of the City Council. Though there is an amendment that would protect the judicial recall/malfeasance standard nature of the recall. The state does not provide for political recalls, so there is little doubt the recall will go to court.

Oregon: Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District recall ballots due on April 5


Wisconsin: Sevastopol School Board facing recall vote

Board member Jay Zahn and treasurer Jane Luebker are facing recall petitions if they don't vote to reinstate an elementary school principal. No word yet on the amount of signatures needed.

Michigan: Board approves second Flint recall petition against Snyder

It rejected the one against Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

California: Recalls threatened against Carlsbad Mayor and two Councilmembers

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall and Councilmembers Lorraine Wood and Keith Blackburn are being potentially threatened with recalls. Wood and Blackburn are up for reelection in November, so this seems very unlikely. Hall is in office until 2018. The issue has to do with their vote for a development project after promising an initiative vote.

Massachusetts: Recall against Lawrence Mayor faces another setback

The Board of Registers has rejected an appeal to review the signatures handed in against Mayor Daniel Rivera. More than half the signatures were tossed out due to difficulties in verification. This one sounds like it will go to the courts.

Maine: Embden looks to adopt recall law

Embden voters will be looking to adopt a recall ordinance at a town meeting on Saturday.
Update: They adopted it 129-122.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Texas: Austin City Clerk tosses out recall petitions against City Council member

The Austin City Clerk has rejected all the signatures against Councilmember Ann Kitchen in the Ride-Sharing recall. Petitioners handed in almost 5300 signatures and they needed a little under 4900. However, they failed to have the petitions signed in the presence of a notary, so the clerk is not allowing them to cure the problem and resubmit. They still have a chance to get a recall on the November ballot.

Not the first time we've seen this type of technicality used to kill a recall. I don't see a discussion of whether the petitioners will appeal.

California: Petitions filed against San Bernardino Councilman

Councilman Fred Shorett is facing petitions over his opposition to medical marijuana and "hiring consultants from outside the city while not coming up with original revenue ideas."

Texas: Petitions taken out against Rio Bravo Mayor

Mayor Francisco Pena is facing petitions over allegations that he did not meet the residency requirement. Petitioner needs 170 signatures and claimed to have over 200.

Maine: Tremont to hold public hearing on recall ordinance

Tremont is scheduled to hold a public hearing on its recall ordinance on Monday.

Texas: Judge Orders Crystal City Clerk to set Mayor/City Council recall

The latest news here has a judge stepping in to force a recall vote against Councilmembers Rogelio Mata and Marco Rodriguez and possibly a replacement race for Mayor Ricardo Lopez (who presumably resigned in the face of corruption charges. The election would be on May 7.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Michigan: Lowell Mayor targeted in recall over firing of City Manager

Lowell Mayor Jeff Altoft, who has been in office two months, is facing a petition over his role in the firing of the city manager. The mayor also hired an attorney to defend the actions.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Washington: Auditor recall effort rejected by Supreme Court

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley, who is facing a criminal trial over claims that he improperly hired a business associate and didn't live in Olympia as required, will not facing a recall. The Supreme Court upheld the Pierce County Judge decision tossing out the petitions.

Vermont: Rutland Alderman proposes recall law

Rutland Alderman and Board President William Notte is trying to push for a recall law. The rule comes about after a first-time candidate was revealed to have been convicted in the early 1990s of false imprisonment.

New Jersey: Asbury Park Councilman facing petitions

Asbury Park Councilman Jesse Kendle is facing recall threats over the issue of economic development on the west side. Petitioners note that Kendle is simply the most vulnerable candidate. Petitioners need 2175 signatures (25% of turnout).

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nevada: Las Vegas Review Journal's op-ed on Judge Catherine Ramsey recall

Here and we are still waiting on the decision from the Nevada Supreme Court.

Oregon: State Senate President facing recall threat over support for minimum wage increase

State Senate President Peter Courtney (D) is facing a recall launched by Matt Geiger a local businessman who ran and lost for the House in 2014 over Courtney's support for a raise in the minimum wage law, as well as Courtney's support for eliminating coal and pushing for wind and solar use.

Petitioner would need 4533 signatures. Courtney has faced two previous recall attempts, one in 1993 when he was in the House and the other in 2007 (he has been in the Senate since 1999 and president since 2003). Neither of those attempts got on the ballot.

New Jersey: Gannet newspapers call for Governor Chris Christie to resign or be recalled

Christie's endorsement of Donald Trump for the Republican nomination seemed to be the big moment here. Here's an overview of NJ recalls, noting that Roosevelt Mayor Neil Marko may be the last removed official back in 2006.

The hurdles here are very significant -- here's an old post on it.

New Jersey: Howell Deputy Mayor facing recall threat

Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro is facing petitions over what appears to be his support for affordable housing project. Petitioners would need 8691 signatures (25% of registereds) in 160 days.

Georgia: Threat to recall four Camilla council members

Camilla councilmembers Vivian Smith, Annie Doris Willingham, Lewis Bryant Campbell and W.D. Palmer III are facing threats of a recall over claims of high electricity bills and violations of sunshine laws.

Petitioners would need 100 signatures just to get the issue moving. Georgia is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so the petitioners will have to show cause. Then they would need 35 more signatures to get the recall on the ballot.