Sunday, February 27, 2022

California: Some more coverage of the School Board recall

 Recall Fever having its moment

SF Chronicle's Joe Garofoli on whether District Attorney Chesa Boudin should be worried

LA Times Mark Barabak gives some thoughts on the impact of the vote

Michigan: Douglass Town Board members facing recall fight

Petitions have been taken out against Douglass Township Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Rhonda Snyder, Treasurer Amy Laper and Trustee Tom Jeppesen. The issue was an appointment to the planning commission.

Update: The first petition language effort was rejected by the Election Commission on factualness/clarity grounds.

Vermont: Ousted Underhill Selectman running for office again

Former Underhill Selectman Peter Duval was ousted in what was likely Vermont's first recall, is running for the office again The recall was over charges of conflict of interest and failing to behave in a respectful manner. The conflict was asking the town's lawyer to let him know about litigation -- Duval had been in litigation against the town over a zoning issue. Petitioners handed in 415 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. 

Voters adopted the recall on Town Meeting Day (the drafting was only in July). 16 towns in Vermont have recall amendments, though the story claims that it was the first use in Vermont's history. The replacement is chosen by the board.

Minnesota: Robbinsdale City Council member facing recall after DUI/Fleeing police

Petitions are being taken out against Robbinsdale City Council member Tyler Kline, after he was charged with drunk driving and fleeing police. 

Former Mayor Regan Murphy is leading the petitions, which would need 650 signatures in 30 days. As Minnesota is a malfeasance state, they need approval to move forward. 

California: Signatures handed in against three Huntington Beach Council members

Signatures have been handed in for the recall effort against Huntington Beach Council members Kim Carr, Dan Kalmick, and Mike Posey. Petitioners handed in between 13,966-14,295 signatures. They need 13,352 valids for each, which would require an unusually low signature failure rate. 

Petitioners had previously failed in handing in signatures for Huntington Beach Councilmembers  Barbara Delgeize, and Natalie Moser, with petitioners not handing in the 13,252 signatures needed.  Councilman Erik Peterson, a conservative, is not facing recall threats and Rhoda Bolton was targeted earlier, but did not hit the end of her term's grace period to start the signature collection effort. 

The issue is claims that they surrendered "local zoning control to the state." One of the leaders of the petition effort is Gracey Van Der Mark, who lost the race for the seat in November 2020 (she came in fourth for the three seats).

New Jersey: Buena Mayor and Councilman facing petitions

Buena Mayor David Zappariello and Councilman Joseph D'Alessandro III are facing recall efforts over the disbanding of a volunteer fire company. Petitioners need 826 signatures in 160 days. 

New Jersey: Northern Burlington County School Board members facing petitions

Northern Burlington County School Board member Kerri Tillett is facing a recall effort, though so far no reason has been given, though it seems it the petitioners were previously complaining about Tillett's support for quarantine policy to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Tillett is a Democratic and the petitioners are Republicans. 

Petitioners are also threatening recalls against Board President Paul Narwid, and members Gerry Spence and Radiah Gamble.  

Petitioners need about 1916 signatures in 160 days. 

California: LA County Association of Deputy District Attorneys vote to support LA DA recall

The recall of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon got a boost as the Association of Deputy District Attorneys (with over 800 members) voted overwhelmingly to support the recall effort. 83.3% of members voted, with 97.9% in favor. 

Georgia: Newton County Commissioner facing recall threats

Recall petitions are being threatened against Newton County Commission Chairman Marcello Banes over his push to remove a sign naming a middle school bandroom for T.K. Adams, a local arts leader. Fellow Commissioner J.C. Henderson is leading the recall threats.

The issue is whether the Board of Commissioners actually voted to approve the naming and whether that is required to put up the sign.

Petitioners would need about 7200 signatures (30% of registered voters) to get on the ballot. Georgia is a malfeasance standard state and needs to show a statutorily delineated reason for the recall, the county charter seems to allow an individual board member to shortcut that part if the board majority votes in favor (or if a Superior Court Judge greenlights it).

Louisiana: Republican State Representative facing recall petitions over votes to uphold Gov. veto

State Representative Joe Stagni (R), representing Kenner, is facing petitions after voting to uphold Governor Edwards (D) veto of a bill that targeted transgender children. The petition also goes after Stagni for opposing concealed armed carry (without any permit or training) legislation and for not signing a petition to limit Edwards' ability to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Petitioners need somewhere in the neighborhood of 6750 signatures (25% of registered voters) in 180 days. 

Washington: Thurston County Commissioner recall tossed out by judge

The recall effort against Thurston County Commissioner Tye Menser has been tossed out by a judge. The petition was over complaints about meetings and opposition to the purchase of a complex.

 Washington is a malfeasance standard/judicial recall state, so a judge must approve the petitions for the recall to move forward. The lead petitioner previously filed recall efforts against Menser, as well against Olympia councilmembers in 2018 that were tossed out by judges. Menser says that the petitioner treats actions against officials as a "full-time hobby." 

California: Chico Mayor recall effort fails

The recall effort against Chico Mayor Andrew Coolidge has apparently failed, as petitioners turned in 2052 signatures and 747 were tossed out. They needed 1519 and got 1305.

No word on what happened to the recall effort against council member Sean Morgan. The issues seems to be a hodgepodge of complaints about spending and behavior, though Morgan suggests that the petitioners are in favor of widespread cannabis dispensaries and needle distribution.

Michigan: Lee Township Trustee and Supervisor recall election scheduled for May 3

The recall election against Lee Township Supervisor Kristy Gustafson and Trustee Darla Rippee is scheduled for May 3. The recall is apparently over the closure of the town dump. Rippee attended the meeting on the petition language and was found to have an active case of COVID, ending the meeting 

Monday, February 21, 2022

California: Three San Francisco School Board Members ousted in recall vote

There's been an enormous amount of coverage on the San Francisco School Board recall, to the degree that it is challenging to summarize here (waiting to see about an op-ed).

Board President Gabriela Lopez lost with 75% against (94,692-31,575) former Vice President Alison Collins had 78.6% against (99,555-27,061) and member Faauuga Moliga had 72.1% against (90,977-35,131). These numbers will likely change on the margins. Note that more voters cast ballots in the recall voted to originally elect these officials. 

This is the first successful recall in San Francisco that I can find since 1921, when two municipal judges, John Sullivan and Morris Oppenheim, were kicked out. There may have been others. Also removed in recalls is my man Senator E.E. Grant in 1914 and Police Judge Charles Weller in 1913. 

And, of course, there's plenty on the funding issues and the role of Asian-Americans in the recall effort. 

Nevada: Washoe County Commissioner and School Board member facing petitions

Petitions have been taken out against Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung (R), though no reason has been given. Petitioners need 14,345 signatures to get on the ballot. 

The same petitioner, who claims to be Robert Beadles and said he is an "avid believer in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology" filed petitions against School Board Member Angie Taylor.

Two Washoe Republican Board members (Cindy Martinez and Sandra Linares) are listed as supporters of the petition (though I'm unclear if it is the Hartung or Taylor one).

California: Deep look at the Shasta County Recall


California: Signature verification process to cost $3896 in Downey Councilwoman recall effort

The signature verification process for the Downey Councilwoman Catherine Alvarez is $3896. Petitioners handed in 4,016 signatures and need 3454 valids to get on the ballot. The recall is reputed to be over Alvarez's failure to disclose her criminal history, where she was arrested for welfare fraud and shoplifting. It would just be a one question vote, with a replacement selected at a later date.  

Michigan: Sidney Township Board member facing May 3 recall vote

The recall election for Sidney Township Board member Jed Welder (R) is set for May 3.  Petitioners handed in 370 signatures, they got 306 and needed 274. It took three tries to get the language approved. 

The issue was a vote in favor of a wind farm. 

California: San Francisco Board of Supervisors proposes radical changes to recall law

San Francisco Board of Supervisors has proposed a measure to create a 6-12 month grace period at the start of the term and a full one year grace period at the end of the term (potential longer than a year, as it seems to go to Election Day, which is about two months before a term is up). This may be the longest grace period in the country. 

Additionally, it would ban anyone appointed as a replacement from running in the next election, which I've never seen before. 

Here's an op-ed from John Trasvina, former SF Elections Commission member and former USF Law School Dean, pointing out the radical nature of the reform and how it will effectively stop the recall from being used. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Oregon: Newberg School Board member resigns after failed recall of two other members

Following the failed recall of two Newberg School Board members (both of whom survived the vote), board member Ines Pena resigned her seat due to what she called a "toxic work environment. Pena opposed the actions of Brian Shannon and Dave Brown, the two members who faced a recall vote over their decision to fire the Superintendent and to ban political flags (seemingly targeting LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter). The other board members will choose a replacement.

Texas: Santa Fe Mayor resigns after signatures handed in

Santa Fe Mayor Jason Tabor has resigned after signatures were handed for his recall. The petitions were taken out over social media posts he wrote criticizing the investigation into a 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting that killed 10 people. Tabor said he was drunk in a casino when he posted the comments. 

The shooter is in a state mental health facility and the parents have been unable to receive information about the shooting, including an autopsy report because it is still under investigation. Tabor proposed a theory for the shooting and tagged one of the victims on Facebook (though the wrong one). 

Petitioners need 250 signatures to get on the ballot (note this is a small town in Galveston County, not Santa Fe, New Mexico). 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

California: San Francisco School Board Recall Day -- Key facts and figures about School Board recalls (Updated)

Today is the first big recall election of the year, as San Francisco Board President Gabriela Lopez, former Vice President Alison Collins and member Faauuga Moliga are facing the voters. Let’s dive into some key facts (apologizes for the font):

1.     School board recall efforts have been taking off over the last two years, primarily due to the efforts to combat the spread of the COVID pandemic – last year saw at least 250 recall attempts against school board members, more than triple a normal year but…

2.     They almost all failed. In a reversal of historic norms (where recall that get to the ballot usually result in removal) Only 18 got to the ballot (and 8 resigned and 1 died). Of those 16 members survived the vote. The two that were ousted had nothing to do with COVID issues.

3.     There have been 7 school board recalls already in 2022. All of the officials survived (in Oregon, Nebraska and Massachusetts).

4.     School board recalls are a regular feature of American politics: Since 2011, there have been 145 127 school board recalls in the US, with 95 93 being removed. Another 51 43 others resigned and 1 was kicked out by the board and another died. (I did not include 2021 in the earlier list -- I am not including the 7 in 2022 yet). 

5.     In California, since 2011, 31 school board recalls got to the ballot, plus another 9 officials resigned and one was removed by the board before a vote (this took place in 24 jurisdictions). The results of those 31 elections show a stark problem for the members – 25 of the officials lost their seats. Only 6 survived. 4 of those six were in a single race (in Parlier in 2011).

6.     The last school board recall in California was in 2020 against two members of the El Rancho Unified School Board (they were both overwhelmingly removed).

7.     This may be the largest school district to ever face a recall vote. In 2015, three school board members in JeffersonCounty, Colorado lost their seats in a recall vote.

8.     Arguably the most consequential recall election in US history was against a school board. In the recall’s finest hour, in 1959, Little Rock, Arkansas voters ended the Lost Year, ousting three School Board members and helping end the famed desegregation crisis.

9.     There has been a divide in the recall defense, with Moliga trying to create separation with Lopez and Collins. Can this work? Usually, it doesn’t, as the clean sweep is popular arrangement in recall battles. But not always.

10. Turnout appears to be low, which is sometimes a feature of recalls, though not in high-profile ones. Is turnout decisive? Well, here's a dive into numbers during the gubernatorial race. 

11. This is the first recall in San Francisco since 1983, when then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein easily beat back a recall and shows how recalls can be a boon to your career. But it won’t be the last! Tune back in this June, when San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin will face the voters.

As for the details of this recall: Petitioners handed in over 81.200 signatures and they needed 51,285 to get on the ballot. 

The School Board recall is over a few issues, including a fight over planning (or accusation of failure to do plan) for the reopening of the schools, changing admissions for a high school and an extremely controversial decision to change the names of public schools for political reasons and using some odd history, including removing the name of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Dianne Feinstein. Collins filed a $87 million lawsuit against the board for removing her from the VP position.

Mayor London Breed has been particularly critical of the board. If the officials are removed, Breed will appoint the replacement (there is no replacement race). 

Other board members Jenny Lam, Mark Sanchez and Kevine Boggess and Matt Alexander, will not be able to face a recall until June.

One notable feature of this recall is that non-citizens can vote in the race.

Fundraising has been overwhelmingly on the side of removal, with charter school supporters and others pouring in cash for the effort, with nearly $2M sent in to the pro-recall side, and only about $86,000 raised for the recall defense effort.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Oregon: Yamhill County Commissioner recall seems to make the ballot

The Yamhill County Clerk has said that petitioners have handed in enough signatures to get the recall of Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer on the ballot. They submitted 7675 and 6873 valids. Petitioners had previous handed in 8903 signatures, but since. 1500 of these signatures were on e-sheets that needed the written approval by the county clerk's office, that effort seems to have been rejected.

The recall is over a kitchen sink of issues, including cutting fees that a landfill paid the county, ending development of a trail and demanding a special election for Urban Renewal District. She has been criticized for her opposition to mask and vaccine mandates to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The recall would be on March 22.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

California: Shasta County Supervisor ousted in recall vote

Shasta County Supervisor Leonard Moty was ousted in a recall vote 4885-3867, with Happy Valley School Board Member Tim Garman currently leading the replacement vote over Dale Ball by 126 votes. 

The recall has garnered quite a big of attention, as it is one of the few to succeed over debates over restrictions to fight the Covid pandemic. The petitioners have also been accused of being secessionists and  there is also a claim that the recall proponents have copied their logo from the QAnon logo. Here's a detailed look at the recall from a Moty supporter who has provided one of the few on the ground looks at the issues.

Petitioners failed to garner enough signatures for the recall of Mary Rickert, Joe Chimenti and Les Baugh, though both Chimenti and Baugh are not running for reelection in June.

Virginia: Washington Post editorial against Virginia's Recall Trial law


Michigan: Davison School Board Member recall fails by 96 signatures

The recall effort against Davison School Board Member Matthew Smith Jr. failed by 96 signatures (Smith is also the chairman of the Genesee County Republican Party). Petitioners handed in 4025 signatures and needed 3698 signatures to get on the ballot. The got 3593.

Smith has been charged with malicious use of telecommunication services (he is accused of harassing the Houghton County Clerk by calling her and threatening to kill her dogs). 

Louisiana: Oakdale mayor facing petitions

Oakdale Mayor Gene Paul is facing recall petitions after revelations that the city clerk stole almost a million dollars. Petitioners would need 934 signatures in 180 days. 

Colorado: Douglas County School Board members facing recall threats over firing school superintendent

Douglas County School Board President Mike Peterson and members Becky Myers, Kaylee Winegar and Christy Williams are facing recall threats after firing the school Superintendent Corey Wise. The story suggests that the board majority (who won office in November as a conservative slate) could not come up with a reason for the firing. 

Petitioners would need about 15,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. 

California: Recall effort against two Huntington Beach Council members fails

The recall effort against Huntington Beach Councilmembers  Barbara Delgeize, and Natalie Moser has failed, with petitioners not handing in the 13,282 signatures needed. There are still recall efforts outstanding against Council members Kim Carr, Dan Kalmick, and Mike Posey. Councilman Erik Peterson, a conservative, is not facing recall threats and Rhoda Bolton was targeted earlier, but did not hit the end of her term's grace period to start the signature collection effort. 

The issue is claims that they surrendered "local zoning control to the state."

Friday, February 4, 2022

California: Gubernatorial recall cost $200M

The Secretary of State has reported that the Governor Gavin Newsom recall cost $200,241,680, significantly less than the $278M set us aside for it. $174M was for counties and the Secretary of State spent $26.1M.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

New Mexico: Potential Constitutional Amendment for recall moves out of committee

New Mexico has advanced out of committee a proposed constitutional amendment to allow recalls for state officials. There is questions over a provision that will allow the candidate with the second most votes to replaced the official. Petitioners would need 25% of turnout in 90 days.