Sunday, October 30, 2022

My op-ed in Barron's on the use of recalls against wind and solar developments

In this op-ed, I look at the use of recalls against wind and solar developments. Over the last five years, 41 officials in eight different states face recalls over their support for renewable energy projects. Four officials in two Michigan townships will be on the ballot over wind farms on Election Day. 

Of these, 14 officials have actually faced a vote since 2018. Eight have been removed, six have survived. 

California: Redondo Beach Councilmember overwhelming survives recall vote

Redondo Beach City Councilmember Zein Obagi Jr. has survived a recall vote, with 72% rejecting the recall vote (872-2222), Turnout was the highest for a special since 2007.

The recall seems to be about a push to increased the number of cannabis dispensaries, and an initiative was taken on the same day for an increase (that lost by 75%). The parent company of Catalyst Cannabis Co. is reported to have spent $309,188 on the recall.

However, petitioners claimed the recall was about his support for affordable housing and a homeless pallet shelter in his district, as well as claims of misconduct by the state bar. There was also a claim that Obagi wanted to disband the fire dpartment. Petitioners got 2452 valids and needed about 2250.

The special is supposed to cost $270,000 (or $240,000 if explanatory text is online only). If it was on the general election day, it was set to cost $37,000.

California: Look at San Francisco School Board school board election, with recall re-run attempt

A look at the upcoming San Francisco School Board election, where former School board member Gabriela Lopez, who was ousted as the San Francisco School Board President in the February recall, is running for a seat on the board in the November elections. 

California: Petitions taken out against Los Angeles Councilmember

Petitions have been taken out against Los Angeles City councilmember Kevin de Leon is facing calls for a resignation or a potential recall. This is after City Council President Nury Martinez already resigned due to the revelations of her racist comments regarding redistricting. No word on a recall against the third council member, Gil Cedillo.

Notably, Pamela Adkins, one of the petitions has filed three previous recall attempts against de Leon in July 2021 and May 2022 (over homeless issues). The article notes that Adkins would be pushing from the right, while the current criticism is from the left.

Petitioners would need 21,006 signatures to get to the ballot.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Michigan: Adams Township Supervisor and Clerk recall makes the May ballot

The recall effort against Adams Township Supervisor Mark Nichols and Clerk Stephanie Scott (R) has made the ballot, with a recall set for May 2, 2023 (must be a primary day). Scott is accused of removing an tabulation from an election device, which has led to a State Police investigation. She was then banned from running the 2021 election by the Secretary of State. Nichols voted against spending $5,500 for a new ballot tabulator and publicly supported Scott's actions.

343 signatures were handed in, with 316 validated. They needed 264. 

Nichols won office in 2018 in a recall and survived one a year later.

California: Poll shows GOP recall voters surprised by Democratic advantage in state

An interesting poll looking at how voters who backed the recall were surprised by the outcome, primarily because they greatly underestimate the size of the Democratic majority in the state.

Washington, DC: Neighborhood Advisory Commissioner survives recall vote

Washington, DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Amber Gove has survived a recall vote, 344-108 (with 16 special ballots outstanding). The article notes that there were far more signatures on the petition (206) than votes to remove

The recall was over complaints about a street being converted to one way traffic and the creation of a bike lane.  

Gove is running for reelection in November and her opponent in the general election, Alexandra Kelly, is one of the leaders of the recall effort. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Oregon: Signatures handed in against two Coos Bay Hospital Board Members; Allegations of theft of signatures for four other recall efforts

Signatures were handed in against two Coos Bay Hospital Board of Directors Members, Chair Dr. Thomas McAndrew and Secretary Dr. Donna Rabin. In an odd twist, petitioners also targeted four other members, Mark Sheldon, Barbara Taylor, Troy Cribbins and Carma Erickson-Hurt, but claim that 2400 signature sheets were stolen from their campaign office. 

The recall is backed by two labor unions, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and the Oregon Nurses Association. The two unions have reportedly spent $85,000 for the recall effort.

Petitioners claim that the recall is over hiring a senior executive who was a convicted embezzler and a board decision to shut an acute psychiatric unit (the decision was later reversed). The unions are in the middle of contract renewal negotiations.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Ohio: Newton Falls to vote on charter amendment on time limit for recall petitions

Newton Falls will be voting on charter amendment which will set a 90 day time limit on recall petitions and also require recall elections to be timed with the next general or primary election. Newton Falls had a protracted legal fight over a recall in 2021.

California: Redondo Beach Councilmember appears to survive recall vote

Redondo Beach City Councilmember Zein Obagi Jr. appears to have easily defeat the recall, with 75% voting against it in early returns, One of the issues against him is a claim that he wants to disband the fire department and contract out with LA (Obagi denies this).

The parent company of Catalyst Cannabis Co. is reported to have spent $309,188 on the recall taking place on October 19, which will also be the same day as a cannabis initiative.

The recall was claimed to be about his support for affordable housing and a homeless pallet shelter in his district, as well as claims of misconduct by the state bar, though Cannabis is clear the big issue, with the leaders pushing to open dispensaries in the city backing the recall ( Petitioners got 2452 valids and needed about 2250.

The special is supposed to cost $270,000 (or $240,000 if explanatory text is online only). If it is on the general election day, it was set to cost $37,000

Colorado: State Supreme Court delays latest recall effort against party-switching State Senator

The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a District Court judge ruling that has put on hold the recall effort against Colorado State Senator Kevin Priola, who switched from Republican to Democrat, saying that petitions cannot go out until January 9 (when the Priola is sworn in). The recall effort had received the green light from the Secretary of State.

The issue is a complicated question of which district the recall should take place. The Secretary of State previously announced that any recall effort against Priola would take place in the 13th district, his new, more Republican district (4%  GOP lean), rather than the 25th, which is evenly split. The change was due to regular redistricting.

Petitioners would need 18,291 signatures in 60 days.  

The Senate is  Democratic (21-14) and Priola is term-limited. He barely won office in 2020, 50.84-49.16. Priola switched parties due to his opposition to Republican election denial and conspiracy theories.  In addition to his switch, petitioners are also citing his vote for road-use fees and a bill to make most drug possessions a misdemeanor, as well as drug injection sites in Denver.

Republicans leaned heavily into recalls after their disastrous showings in 2018, though to no effect (none got on the ballot). Colorado did have two recalls which led to the removal of two Democratic Senators in 2013 over gun control laws. 

Voters have used the recall against party flippers twice in the past (arguably three times). In 1995, California Assemblyman Paul Horcher was ousted over moving from Republican to Independent and voting for Willie Brown for Speaker. Assemblywoman Doris Allen also moved from the Republicans in the same year and had herself elected Speaker, which led to her ouster. While seen as a betrayal, I don't believe she actually left the party. And in 1981, Washington State Senator Peter Von Reichbauer switched from Democrat to Republican, which flipped control of the chamber. Von Reichbauer survived the recall vote. 

UK: Labour MP resigned in face of allegations; potential recall effort

Labour MP Christian Mathewson resigned over claims of sexual misconduct. A panel recommended a four-week suspension, which could have led to a recall effort.

California: Los Angeles Councilmember vows not to resign

Los Angeles City councilmember Kevin de Leon is facing calls for a resignation or a potential recall. This is after City Council President Nury Martinez already resigned due to the revelations of her racist comments regarding redistricting. de Leon and Gil Cedillo are under fire as well, with discussion of potential recalls.

Belize: Signatures handed in against Opposition leader

 A recall appears to be taking place against Shyne Barrow, the leader of the UDP. 

Oregon: Morrow County Commissioners recall appears to make the ballot

Petitioners appear to have handed in enough signatures against Morrow County Commissioners Jim Doherty and Melissa Lindsay to get on the ballot. The recall would take place before the end of the year. Petitioners handed in 657 for Lindsay and 648 for Doherty. They needed 564 valid signature.

The recall seems to be about the firing of a county administrators (who is now suing the county for wrongful termination).

Virginia: Newport News debates adopting recall law

Newport News is looking into amending its charter to add a recall option for city council members. Mayor McKinley Price is in favor of the recall law. The state legislature would need to approve it.

Petitions would need 25% of turnout (at least 300 signatures for each district and 1000 for the  mayor). There would also be a one year grace period.

In 2019, Newport News Vice Mayor Tina Vick faced recall threats, though it seems not to have any legal backing to it.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

California: Los Angeles City Council Redistricting/Racist comments scandal leads to calls for recall

City Council President Nury Martinez has already resigned due to the revelations of her racist comments regarding redistricting, and now Councilmembers Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo are under fire as well, with discussion of potential recalls.

Colorado: Court delays recall effort against State Senator until January 9

A District Court judge has put on hold the recall effort against Colorado State Senator Kevin Priola, who switched from Republican to Democrat, saying that petitions cannot go out until January 9 (when the Priola is sworn in). The recall effort had received the green light from the Secretary of State.

The issue is a complicated question of which district the recall should take place. The Secretary of State previously announced that any recall effort against Priola would take place in the 13th district, his new, more Republican district (4%  GOP lean), rather than the 25th, which is evenly split. The change was due to regular redistricting.

Petitioners would need 18,291 signatures in 60 days.  

The Senate is  Democratic (21-14) and Priola is term-limited. He barely won office in 2020, 50.84-49.16. Priola switched parties due to his opposition to Republican election denial and conspiracy theories.  In addition to his switch, petitioners are also citing his vote for road-use fees and a bill to make most drug possessions a misdemeanor, as well as drug injection sites in Denver.

Republicans leaned heavily into recalls after their disastrous showings in 2018, though to no effect (none got on the ballot). Colorado did have two recalls which led to the removal of two Democratic Senators in 2013 over gun control laws. 

Voters have used the recall against party flippers twice in the past (arguably three times). In 1995, California Assemblyman Paul Horcher was ousted over moving from Republican to Independent and voting for Willie Brown for Speaker. Assemblywoman Doris Allen also moved from the Republicans in the same year and had herself elected Speaker, which led to her ouster. While seen as a betrayal, I don't believe she actually left the party. And in 1981, Washington State Senator Peter Von Reichbauer switched from Democrat to Republican, which flipped control of the chamber. Von Reichbauer survived the recall vote. 

California: Recall Supporters file suit against Registrar seeking to put Los Angeles District Attorney recall on the ballot

Proponents of the recall against Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, which missed the ballot by 46,000 signatures, are now suing the registrar claiming that the signatures were thrown out under improper invalidation methods.

They seem to focus on non-matching signatures, thought that was only a small part of the invalidation (9,490). They are also focused on the not registered totals, which is the vast majority of the rejected signatures (though it is in-line with the failure rate of other recalls). 

The petitioners are also arguing that voter rolls were inflated, so the 566,857 needed signatures were higher than needed. We discussed this a little with the cancelled signature category. 

Illinois: Appellate Court ruling tosses out Dolton Mayor Recall and Village recall law

The Appellate Court ruling rejecting the recall of Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard is now out, and it seems to throw out the entire recall law as well.

The judges went beyond the earlier lower court ruling (the recall law was adopted in the same election as the recall vote took place; the lower court held that the law had to be adopted first). The court held that Illinois law "does not provide for recall of village officials...." though it does allow it for other officials. 

Henyard, who lost the June 28 recall vote1953-1532opened the next meeting with the disco song "Ain't No Stopping Us Now."

In the ruling which was upheld, a Cook County Circuit Court Judge ordered the clerk to not count the vote in two recall ballot measures (one asks for a recall law -- which succeeded 1948-1506 -- the other calls for Henyard to face a recall vote immediately). 

The recall does not seem to have signatures handed in, but was rather put on the ballot by the village board. 

Henyard faced a previous recall effort when she served as trustee, leading to an appellate court decision that the board cannot remove the official by a board vote but can have a recall. 

The recall is over a slew of complaints: taking a Township Supervisor job that pays $250,000 which seen as a conflict of interest; keeping the board from meeting, paying bills and refusing to show what is being paid, as well as hiring a code enforcement officer who spent 24 years in prison for kidnapping and sexual assault. 

Mississippi: Column on lack of recall in state

The article notes that officials cannot even remember a bill proposing a recall being offered.

Brown Student Body President facing recall petition

Here

Minnesota: Minnesota State University Student Senate sees recall effort

Here

Texas: Appellate Court accepts appeal by Denton City Council member challenging recall effort

An Appellate Court has accepted an appeal filed by Denton City Council member Alison Maguire to her recall scheduled for Election Day. A  Judge has previously tossed out a lawsuit looking to throw out the petitions (there will be no replacement race).

The recall effort began when Maguire used a meme (Who killed Hannibal?) to complain about the leadership of the County Transportation Authority, though the critical part seems to be that the recall is taking place in a part of the district that wasn't there when Maguire was elected (redistricting turned it into a more conservative district. Petitioners needed 673 signatures to get on the ballot and handed in 745.

Former Councilmember Dan Duff lead the recall effort.


Kentucky: Recall effort against Fayette County Property Tax

An effort is underway to recall a Fayette County Property Tax. Petitioners need 5000 signatures by October 28. 

California: Signatures handed in for recall of Gilroy Councilmember

Signatures have been handed in for the recall of Gilroy Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz over two fatal shootings that took place at a party at a house. a party which she apparently helped host for her son. An investigation found that she didn't fully cooperate with investigators. 

Petitioners handed in at least 6375 signatures and need 6218. 

California: Firefighters back Redondo Beach Councilmember in recall vote

Firefighters seem to have come out for Redondo Beach City Councilmember Zein Obagi Jr. One of the issues against him is a claim that he wants to disband the fire department and contract out with LA (Obagi denies this).

The parent company of Catalyst Cannabis Co. is reported to have spent $309,188 on the recall taking place on October 19, which will also be the same day as a cannabis initiative.

The recall was claimed to be about his support for affordable housing and a homeless pallet shelter in his district, as well as claims of misconduct by the state bar, though Cannabis is clear the big issue, with the leaders pushing to open dispensaries in the city backing the recall ( Petitioners got 2452 valids and needed about 2250.

The special is supposed to cost $270,000 (or $240,000 if explanatory text is online only). If it is on the general election day, it was set to cost $37,000

California: Recall effort started against Sacramento Councilmember

Sacramento Councilmember Sean Loloee is facing a recall threat over complaints that he does not live in the district (based on 911 calls complaining about parties, weapons, fireworks and stolen cars at the place that he lists as his residence), though a recent investigation seems to have cleared the charges and said that he does in fact live in the district.

One of the backers of the recall effort is Ramona Landeros, who lost to him in the last election.

Ohio: Confusion reigns in East Cleveland Recall following Supreme Court decision

There seems to be real confusion on what will happen with the recall election against East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King. A decision by the Ohio Supreme Court threw out part of a suit filed to stop the recall, but an open question may result in the recall being tossed out regardless. 

The Ohio Supreme Court rejected part of a lawsuit filed by the East Cleveland Law Director Willa Hemmons to stop the upcoming Election Day The decision ruled against a complaint that the petition exceeded the 200 word limit.

However, the court seems to have held that the Clerk of the Council is responsible for certifying a recall petition instead of the board of elections. The clerk seems to have stated that she is deferring to the Hemmons on the matter. 

Notably, previous articles seemed to suggest that Hemmons was acting in a private capacity and being paid by King himself. Haven't seen that point in recent articles. 

Petitioners claim that King used the police to target his Democratic primary opponents in 2021 for towing a van he was using to promote another candidate using loudspeakers. They also claim that he does not actually reside in East Cleveland and that he used city contractors for personal work.

There were additional complaints against the recall, including that petitioners handed in 322 valid signatures and needed 311. The law requires that signers voted in the last election. Hemmons claims that 43 signers did not, so their signatures should be tossed out. 

King has been mayor since 2016 when the last mayor, Gary Norton, was kicked out in a recall with the council president, Thomas Wheeler.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Idaho: Petitions taken out against Eagle Mayor and City Council members

Eagle Mayor Jason Pierce and City Council members Brad Pike, Helen Russell, Charlie Baun and Melissa Gindlesperger over claims that the members were rude, though the homepage includes questions about annexing a town, a shooting sports park and a municipal broadband project. 

Petitioners need about 4300 signatures in 75 days. 

Washington: Central Washington University Student President resigns over recall

 ASCWU President Rachael Medalia resigned after a recall was approved.

Canada: Recall effort against British Columbia's Vernon-Monashee MLA fails

No signatures were handed in for the recall effort against British Columbia (Vernon-Monashee) MLA Harwinder Sandhu over complaints about her support for policies put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

Petitioners needed 21,268 signatures by October 11. Unlike in the US, there is a strict $37,046.52 spending limit for both sides. Additionally, the petitions automatically vacate the seat, resulting in a by-election, which the official can run in (easier than many recalls in the US, where and absolute majority is needed to win the vote).

The article notes that 26 recall petitions have been taken out since 1995, though there have been no recall elections held. Only six have been turned in with signatures. Five failed to get enough signatures, and the MLA resigned during the verification process in the sixth.

California: Downey Councilwoman recall scheduled for January 31

The recall of Downey Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Catherine Alvarez is set for January 31, 2023. 

 Petitioners handed in 4700 signatures and 3881 were found valid. They needed 3471. The recall is reputed to be over Alvarez's failure to disclose her criminal history, where she was arrested for welfare fraud and shoplifting.

This is the second signatures submission against Alvarez  The first petitions came 35 signatures short of qualifying (Petitioners handed in 4,016 signatures and need 3454 valids). 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Rhode Island: Woonsocket Mayor removed by Council (though no recall vote)

Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt was removed from office by the City Council, which has led others to complain about the law and note that the recall (which Woonsocket adopted in 2012) may be the proper venue for this type of action. the Mayor from office. The issue was claims that Baldelli-Hunt overstepped her authority, with a veto of a collective-bargaining agreement with the police union seeming to be a motivating factor.


Michigan: Grand Haven Mayor facing petitions

Grand Haven Mayor Catherine McNally is facing petitions over a previous attempt to remove a councilmember who McNally claimed did not live in Grand Haven. The petition also notes that McNally is against recreational marijuana. The lead petitioner said he previously supported McNally. Petitioners need over 1400 signatures in six months.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

California: Recall "reform" bills signed by Governor

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed two laws that hit recalls, one of which makes a big change to local recall laws for non-charter counties and most localities in the state. However, the impact is unlikely to be what proponents hope. 

The more important new law (AB 2582) will remove replacement races for local recall elections in all non-charter cities that use their own laws, and replace it with the "Automatic Replacement" or Replace as by law" model. The legislators are focused on what they claim is hyper-partisanship. In op-eds with my colleagues David Carrillo and Steven Duvernay, we've been quite critical of this approach. It simply removes the ability of voters to make the choice. Based on Oregon's experience with this law, we should not expect any drop off in recalls. Oregon (a state a fraction of California) using the automatic replacement model and has had approximately the same number of recalls over the last 12 years. This will not affect State-level recalls like Governor or state Senator. Nor will it affect charter cities, such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. But the impact will be felt state wide. 

The second bill (AB 2584) plays a bit around the edges on recall law, including raising the amount of signatures for the original petition (that amount is very small,, so for jurisdictions with less than 100,000 registereds, it goes from 10 to 30) and makes changes to the law regarding statements (the petitions need to be available for review). 

Perhaps most importantly, it allows a potential push back to the date of a recall. Under the new law, a new recall can waiting to occur for as much as 180 days from filing if it can be consolidated with an a pre-existing Election Day. It previously was 88-125 days, so this will delay recalls a bit more. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Illinois: Appellate Court rejects Dolton Mayor recall vote

Can't open the link yet, but it looks like an appellate court has toss out the recall election of Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard.  Henyard lost the June 28 recall vote1953-1532.

A judge ordered the clerk to not count the vote in two recall ballot measures (one asks for a recall law -- which succeeded 1948-1506 -- the other calls for Henyard to face a recall vote immediately). The issue seems to be that the measures are taking place at the same time, which is extremely odd.

A Cook County Circuit Court Judge has ruled in favor of efforts to stop the recall election against 

The recall does not seem to have signatures handed in, but was rather put on the ballot by the village board. 

Henyard faced a previous recall effort when she served as trustee, leading to an appellate court decision that the board cannot remove the official by a board vote but can have a recall. 

The recall is over a slew of complaints: taking a Township Supervisor job that pays $250,000 which seen as a conflict of interest; keeping the board from meeting, paying bills and refusing to show what is being paid, as well as hiring a code enforcement officer who spent 24 years in prison for kidnapping and sexual assault. 

Texas: Denton City Council member lawsuit against recall tossed out

A Judge has tossed out a lawsuit looking to throw out the petitions against Denton City Council member Alison Maguire, which could mean the recall will be on the ballot in November (there will be no replacement race).

The recall effort began when Maguire used a meme (Who killed Hannibal?) to complain about the leadership of the County Transportation Authority, though the critical part seems to be that the recall is taking place in a part of the district that wasn't there when Maguire was elected (redistricting turned it into a more conservative district. Petitioners needed 673 signatures to get on the ballot and handed in 745.

Former Councilmember Dan Duff lead the recall effort.

California: Downey Councilwoman recall makes the ballot

The recall of Downey Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Catherine Alvarez has made the ballot. Petitioners handed in 4700 signatures and 3881 were found valid. They needed 3471. The recall is reputed to be over Alvarez's failure to disclose her criminal history, where she was arrested for welfare fraud and shoplifting.

This is the second signatures submission against Alvarez  The first petitions came 35 signatures short of qualifying (Petitioners handed in 4,016 signatures and need 3454 valids). 

Louisiana: Petitioners claim 10,000 signatures collected against New Orleans Mayor

Petitioners claim to have over 10,000 signatures for the recall of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Cantrell has faced complaints about a failure to put New Orleans first as well as recent revelations over her travel expenses, including a $17,000 flight to Paris. Petitioners need 53,353 signatures (20% of registered voters). Petitioners have 180 days (late February) to get the signatures..

Louisiana: Petitions filed against Monroe Councilmember

Petitions have been filed against Monroe City Councilmember Kema Dawson over complaints that of a lack of support for Black organizations (seemingly economic development districts).

Petitioners need 1954 signatures (33.3% of registered voters) in 180 days.