Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Virginia: Waverly Mayor hearing recall threats

Mayor Barbara Gray is facing recall threats over budgetary issues, including a water tower maintenance contract totaling $505,264 and a FOIA case (which cost $7000 to fight). It is not clear if the council approved the contract. Whether Virginia, which has recall trials, will allow a recall of a mayor should also be considered an open question.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wyoming: Kemmerer City council threatened with recall

Kemmerer City Council members were threatened with a recall over paying for an event center. No word on what that will entail.

Michigan: Two Cottrelville Township officials face recalls, one for super drunk DUI

Cottrelville Township Supervisor Kelly Fiscelli is facing a recall  over her pleading guilty to a "super drunk law" DUI (.28 blood alcohol content). Fiscelli's terms ends in November 2016, so

There is a petition filed against her, which cites a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

A separate petitioner, Robert Pfaff, filed recall papers against Clerk Lori Russelburg over the Open Meetings Act. Russelburg claims that the recall is a retaliation for a successful 2007 recall Russelburg launched against Pfaff's wife.

Massachusetts: Ashby Selectman up for vote today

Ashby Selectman Steve Ingerson is facing a recall vote today over his refusal to sign payroll warrants -- with the recall led by his fellow selectmen. The recall has two parts, the first is an up or down vote, the second is a choice of replacement candidates, with Ingerson on the ballot there.

Louisiana: Gonzales City Council seat filled

Since the December recall of Councilman Timothy Vessel, the seat has been vacant.

Friday, March 27, 2015

New Mexico: Additional signatures handed in against Las Cruces Councilman

Petitioners handed in 400 more signatures in the recall effort against Las Cruces Councilman Gill Sorg. This was in their "cure" period.

Massachusetts: Petitions handed in for Hinsdale Select Board Chair

Hinsdale Select Board Chairwoman Bonnie Connor is facing a possible recall, as almost 400 people signed the recall petition. They needed 280 signatures. Voters approved the petition 202-95. Connor had previously faced a challenge in December 2013, when more than 300 people asked for her resignation. Then two months ago, 100 people signed a petition to recall Connor over the firing of the Police Chief and transfer station attendant.

This recall does not specify that reason, just incompetence. They are also claiming violations of open meeting laws.

Oregon: Gearhart mayor survives recall vote

Gearhart Mayor Dianne Widdop survived her recall today, winning 183-320 (63.6%-36.3). Voter turnout was 54.44%. The reasons for the recall was that Widdop allegedly asked a business to remove a candidate's sign from the window and recording a conversation and distributing it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

North Dakota: Lincoln mayoral recall scheduled for June 16

The recall of Lincoln Mayor Bob Johnston will take place on June 16, as petitioners handed in at least 110 valids. The issue is over a veto of council members ordinance and then a veto of a law giving the council a veto override power. Johnston's behavior has resulted in a state law (still to be signed) giving councils throughout the state a veto override provision. 

Arizona: Glendale Councilman facing renewed recall effort

Glendale Councilman Robert Sherwood is facing another recall effort for his flip position to support of a casino, extension of a sales tax and vote to allow wider use for digital billboards. The last recall failed when petitioners did not disclose whether the gatherers were being paid on the top of each sheet of petitions. Petitioners need 2,752 signatures by June 20.

Interestingly, Sherwood beat Dianne Douglas, who went on to win the Superintendent of Public Instruction position. She is now facing recall threats herself.

Massachusetts: Fired Town Manager reinstated by new Sagus Board

The recall in Sagus was over his firing, and now Scott Crabtree is being brought back. However, it could get messy, as the old recalled board signed a contract with a new town manager four days before the recall and swore him in the day before the recall.

Missouri: College sophomore jumps into Columbia Councilwoman replacement race


Michigan: Berrien County Treasurer facing petitions over affair

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is facing petitions over his extramarital affair and explicit text messages. However, the petitioner is not looking to actually collect signatures. An investigation cleared the three-term treasurer.

Petitioner would need 11,000 signatures in what is listed as 180 days, but is likely 90 days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Florida: Fort Myers Councilmember facing threats over racially charged comments about early voting polls

Fort Myers Councilwoman Teresa Watkins-Brown is facing recall threats after discussing early voting poll locations. Apparently wanting to set up early polls in white neighborhoods, Watkins-Brown (who is African-American) said that "White people are sacred to come over into our community." Brown said that the polls should be in "area where everybody will feel comfortable to vote."

There is discussion about launching a recall, though they would need to meet the cause requirement of the malfeasance standard (in addition to getting the signatures of 10% of registereds). As you can see below, in my post on Ferguson, this may not rise to incompetence or whatever other level would result in a recall.

Colorado: Recall against Colorado Springs councilwoman leads to discovery

Apparently, neighbors of Helen Collins' property in Kansas City were complaining about her property, but couldn;t find her. Now, thanks to the recall, they have.

Article in the Forward on Harry Houdini

In my research on Wisconsin's adoption of the recall, I found a surprising obit for Harry Houdini. I wrote this article for the Jewish Forward on it. Here's the link to the original piece in the Milwaukee Sentinel.

Philippines: Detailed look at recall law in two gubernatorial efforts


Nevada: Poll shows strong disapproval of Hambrick recall

This poll suggests that Nevada Speaker John Hambrick has a commanding lead if he faces a recall -- 54% and only 17% are in favor.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Missouri: Will the recall effort against the Ferguson Mayor pass judicial scrutiny?

It looked like the recall of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles was "dead in the water" a couple of weeks ago. But times have changed. There is now a more concentrated -- or at least much better publicized -- effort to have Knowles kicked out. Signatures are starting to be collected and press reports note that petitioners need about 1800 signatures (15% of registereds) in 60 days.

The move may simply be a way to pressure Knowles into resigning (a common result in a recall). But if Knowles doesn't resign, there is an open question -- and possibly conflicting statutes -- as to whether he can be recalled for his leadership of the city. There may also be a question of how many signatures are actually needed for the recall.

The problem here is that the state law may conflict with the local law.

The first statute at play is Ferguson's basic recall law. It requires the signatures of 15% of registered voters in 60 days. It also appears to allow recalls for any reason whatsoever (i.e. political recalls). As a point of knowledge, almost every recall that you have heard of has been a political recall (think Gray Davis, Scott Walker, the Colorado state Senators, Arizona Senate President, etc.)

However, the state of Missouri has a (possibly overriding) statute. Missouri doesn't provide a recall for state officials, but it does have them for Class 3 cities (cities with a population between 5,000 and 29,999). This recall law is not a political one, but instead it is what has been called a judicial recall or malfeasance standard. What this means is that a specific charge has to be put forward in the recall petition, and (in Missouri's case) it has to allege "misconduct in office, incompetence or failure to perform duties prescribed by law."

The statute also requires the signatures of 25% of registered voters, so according to this law, more signatures would be needed.

The first question is whether Ferguson is a Class 3 City. The commentators I've read seem to take the Class 3 status as a given, specifically because of Ferguson's size (21,203). In this article, a University of Missouri-St.Louis Political Science professor says that it is a Class 3 City (though the description of the recall is inaccurate). However, on page 21 of this document from the Missouri Municipal League, Ferguson is listed as a Constitutional Charter city, which may be able to have its own recall law (again, I'm not clear on that or whether the city can't just be both). So it may be that the Class 3 designation is incorrect. I do not see an answer in the charter, but as we will see based on one other case, there is good reason to think that the Class 3 designation may be used by the courts.

If Class 3 is correct, from what I can tell, there isn't any case law that answers the question of how Ferguson and other cities can have recall laws that conflict with the state law (and I don't have access to Westlaw or Lexis so I will gladly acknowledge that there may be a dispositive case that easily squares the circle and would be happy if someone pointed it out). It could be that Ferguson's law is simply in violation of state law and would be thrown out by the courts.

Missouri's case law and use of the recall is quite skimpy, but it does shine some light on the subject.

There was an appellate court ruling in 1988 that stopped a recall in Gladstone because it failed to specify reasons for the recall. The court's ruling is narrow -- it does not seem to say that the recall would have been quashed because it failed to state a valid claim of "misconduct, incompetence or failure."

In the last four years, there have been three recall efforts in Missouri that are worth talking about (the other efforts all failed to hand in signatures). In 2011, the mayor of Lebanon was recalled and removed. They seem to list some reasons that may meet the standard (obstructing a meeting). There didn't seem to be any case law surrounding this recall. In March, a recall against Columbia Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick got on the ballot (over her flip-flop on marijuana). Chadwick resigned before the vote, though I haven't seen any news stories that suggest that she sued to stop the recall. Columbia is a much larger city and would not qualify as Class 3.

But the third one, the recall effort against five Ellisville councilmembers in 2012, may be the one that matters the most. Ellisville has a recall law similar to the one that Ferguson possesses. Ellisville (population 9,173) should has the same questions on whether it is a Class 3 City or Constitutional Charter city. In this case, the recall (over the building of a Wal-Mart) was tossed out by the judge because it failed to state a valid reason for the recall. If a judge follows this reasoning, then the Ferguson effort has the difficulty of meeting the malfeasance standard.

A number of commentators appear to assume that the standard for the recall will be easily met. I can't comment on Missouri law, but a look at how other states with a cause requirement for a recall act suggests that a recall based on the actions surrounding the Michael Brown shooting may not be enough to get on the ballot.

I'm not going to compile a full list, but numerous states and jurisdictions have a similar type of provision, including (for our purposes) Georgia, Minnesota,Washington and Alaska.

Over the last few years, we've seen plenty of attempts to get a recall on the ballot in these states (feel free to look through past posts for examples). Almost all have failed. Minnesota has reportedly never had a recall since it was adopted statewide in 1996. Georgia is no easier -- they are not willing to accept Open Meeting violations, a tactic that succeeds in other jurisdictions.  Alaska and Washington have had some recalls occur, but frequently there has been obvious misbehavior on the part of the official, though both have also regularly rejected recalls. There are other examples -- Here's a jurisdiction in Florida tossing a recall out for the failing to state a proper cause.

The commentators seem to think incompetence is easily shown, but that is not the case. Again, its unclear how Missouri courts would decide whether an official's actions were "incompetent" but other states have a high threshold (it almost seems like a "business judgment rule"). The only recall over the last four years that I've seen meet an incompetence threshold was Kansas' Shawnee Treasurer, who (arguably incompetently) commingled funds from the DMV and Real Estate divisions. Despite a bi-partisan call to resign, they couldn't get the signatures for that recall.

The question becomes what is the cause to recall Knowles. I haven't seen the petitions, but if it is simply focused on his actions following the Michael Brown shooting, that may be tossed out, especially since the mayor's power is very weak. In one article there is the suggestion that Knowles tried to influence a driving ticket for a friend. Strange as it sounds, that could be a much more fruitful avenue to pursue a recall.

At this point, these questions remain open-ended. And they also depend on whether Knowles will contest a recall in court. But while all the articles seem to suggest an ouster is very possible, there may be good reason to believe that a recall against the Mayor (and other officials) in Ferguson may fail in the courts.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Canada: Two Liberal MLA's in British Columbia targeted for recall

Two MLA's Richard Lee and Marc Dalton, are facing recall threats from what seems like an organized political effort (called the B.C. Citizens for Recall) to target 12 Liberal lawmakers who could be defeated in a recall. Dalton was targeted with a recall campaign in 2011, but it didn't get anywhere near enough signatures.

Petitioners need 40% of registered voters in 60 days, which appears to be over 15,000.

The issues are all over the place (underfunding of hospitals, seismic upgrades, poverty rates).

There was apparently one successful B.C. recall effort. In 1998, Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma resigned after enough signatures where collected for a recall. Reitsma was accused of writing self-promoting letters to newspapers.

Colombia: Bogota mayoral recall on

Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled that Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro will face a recall within 60 days. Petro's term ends at the end of the year. Parties on both sides of the aisle argue that the recall shouldn't be run. Petro faced a recall threat that was superseded by an inspector-general decision to remove him from office. However, he was later reinstated.
A court has ordered a recall referendum despite the fact that the mayor's term will end at the end of the year. Several notable Colombian politicians expressed their disagreement with the ruling of Colombia's Constitutional Court to hold a referendum to remove Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro. The court ordered on Tuesday that the recall referendum must occur within 60 days, however Petro's term will expire at the end of this year, with new mayoral elections set to be held on October 25, 2015. “It isn't right to subject the city to a process like this and then two months later hold new elections,” Rafael Pardo told El Telegrafo. Pardo is a conservative politician and a candidate in the upcoming elections. Clara Lopez, the mayoral candidate for the leftist Democratic Pole echoed Pardo's comments, saying, “This is not the moment to reactivate a recall as it does not have a practical effect, precisely at this moment when the (electoral) race is starting, what it does is generate confusion in the city.” Hollmas Morris, another leading candidate for mayor, told El Telegrafo, “I will be the first to take the streets to defend (the Petro administration). Petro isn't going anywhere. I don't see the point in holding the recall referendum now but we should be vigilant and not let our guard down.” Several other mayoral candidates from across the political spectrum also expressed reservations. Further complicating matters is the fact that the electoral body must divert resources meant for the mayoral election to the running of the recall referendum. The head of the electoral body, Carlos Ariel Sanchez, has said he respects the courts ruling but will nonetheless seek to have it nullified. Mayor Petro has said he embraces the challenge and is confident he will win should it be held. “The referendum is welcome. This is our battlefield. We are always subject to the will of the people, they know what we have contributed to their social development. We do not fear a recall,” said Petro. Petro was temporarily ousted as mayor in 2014 after Colombia's conservative inspector-general ordered his removal and banned him from holding public office for 15 years. He was eventually reinstated after mass protests and a court ruling.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Colombian-Politicians-Reject-Efforts-to-Unseat-Mayor-of-Bogota-20150321-0003.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Phillipines: Recall campaign against Bulcan Governor halted

This long running drama has not run its course just yet. There's also contempt motions being filed.

California: Oroville recall campaign dropped

The push to recall Oroville Councilman David Pittman was dropped. The group failed to publish a public notice. The issue was PG&E's tree removal project. This was the second attempt against Pittman.

Colorado: Fort Collins ballot initative deals with recalls

This is a minor fix that changes the local law to fit with the Supreme Court's recent decision -- basically, you can't require the voters to vote on the recall question in order to vote on the replacement race.

Oregon: Gearhart City Administrator taping of convesation with mayor/former city council member, not legal, not prosecutable

So says the District Attorney. The voters will have their say shortly.

New Jersey: Irvington Township mayor recall can't start until May 12

Petitions against Irvington Township Mayor Tony Vauss over a lawsuit claiming that he forced a municipal employee to have sex with him in a township office will not be allowed to begin until May 12, when he's in office for 50 days. There was a lawsuit that held that notice of intent to recall was prematurely filed.

This decision may prevent petitioners from hetting a recall on the November ballot. Petitioners need 25% of registered voters in 160 days.

The sex act occurred before Vauss took office.

Texas: Hearne recall has resulted in problems with council quorum

This is part of the result of the Maxine Vaughn recall removal (but the mayor and other councilmember weren't there).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Michigan: Plymouth Supervisor resigns after recall threats

Supervisor Richard Reaume, who was one of four officials facing petitions, resigned. Reaume also filed petitions against two other supervisors simply to highlight the recall, though he didn't collect signatures.

Arizona: Cave Creek Planning Commissioner resigns following recall of council

Some fall out from the Cave Creek recall -- Planning Commissioner Grace Meeth, who was appointed by the members of city council who were bounced, resigned her seat.

Maine: A look at requirements in-state

A really good look at the recall requirements for Maine.

Florida: Bradenton Beach mayor recall getting close to signature hand in

Petitioners have collected 80 signatures for the recall of Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon. They need 115 by April 6. Shearon is also face a move by the vice mayor to have him forfeit the office.

Colorado: Two Center School Board members ousted, one survives recall over superintendent

Two Center School Board members were kicked out of office Phil Varoz (460-189) and James Sanchez (462-188). The issue was their opposition to the Superintendent. A third member Yuridia Cendejas faced a recall by Varoz and Sanchez supporters for supporting the Superintendent,survived (221-441).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nevada: More info on North Las Vegas Municipal Judge recall

Some more details, but not much in the way of light, on the recall attempt against North Las Vegas Municipal Judge Catherine Ramsey. This discussion is still about wasting money and lawsuits filed against her. Hopefully, more info will come up in the future.

Massachusetts: Four Saugus selectmen kicked out over town manager firing

Four Sagus selectmen were kicked out of office --Selectman Steve Castinetti,Paul Allan, Castinetti, Maureen Dever and Chairman Ellen Faiella -- over their vote to fire the town manager. The last selectman voted against firing the manager and didn't face a recall.

 Allan lost to Jeffrey Cicolini (54-37%); Castinetti fell to Mark Mitchell (49-39%); Dever was beaten by Jennifer D’Eon (55-36%); and Faiella lost to Scott Brazis (60-35%). Oddly, School Committeeman Arthur Grabowski challenged each of the sitting selectmen and he got between five and 11% on each.

Missouri: House takes up St. Joseph School District recall law

The bill to require St. Joseph School District to allow recalls has been taken up the Missouri House. The bill would require signatures of 10% of turnout from the last school board election. It also would require the county commission fill the seats, and cut the length of the term from 6 to 4 years.

Arizona: Call to increase signature requirements for small town recalls

This editorial calls for higher signature requirements for recalls in small towns. This would mimic California's law (it has three levels of signature requirements, topping out at 40% for the smallest towns).

Michigan: Tawas recall candidates set

The May 5th recall of Mayor Pro Tem Dave Dickman has a challenge -- Theresa Hurst.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Missouri: New effort targets Ferguson Mayor, but chances of success depend on judicial ruling

Though it had previously been called "dead in the water," there is now new talk of an attempt to recall Ferguson Mayor James Knowles.

Nevada: North Las Vegas Municipal Judge facing recall fight

North Las Vegas Municipal Judge Catherine Ramsey is facing a recall petition, apparently funded by the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association. Ramsey, in her first term, is one of two Municipal Judges in North Las Vegas. According to the article she is widely disliked by city officials who blame her for wasting money, including the mayor who has called her immoral. The petitioners are looking to raise $25,000.

Petitioners would need 1984 signatures by June 9.

Of particular note is that this would be one of the very rare recalls of judges. The article notes there have been some attempts, though I'm unclear if they actually got to a vote:
There have been three unsuccessful judicial recall efforts in Nevada since 2003 that submitted signatures, according to Nevada Secretary of State spokeswoman Catherine Lu. Supporters of two other efforts filed intent paperwork but never submitted signatures.

Colorado: Center School Board recall vote on Tuesday


Colorado: Colorado Springs councilwoman recall will proceed

The recall against Councilwoman Helen Collins will proceed, as a judge rejected her attempt to have the petitions thrown out. The complaint was focused on headers and other "hypertechnical" claims.

Florida: Quincy recall petitions tossed out for lack of malfeasance

A judge tossed out petitions against Quincy City Commissioner Micah Brown claiming that they did not meet the malfeasance standards required for a recall.The petitioner claimed that Brown voted to make the interim city manager permanent in exchange for giving Children Are Our Future a debt write-off.

New Mexico: Petitioners will try to cure for recall against one of three Las Cruces councilmembers

The recall attempt against at least one of three Las Cruces councilman, Gill Sorg, will be continuing.The petitioners handed in signatures, but a large number were rejected. However, they have 15 days to cure and get new signatures. Sorg was the target with the best percentage -- 996 of 1091 were valid. The other two targets were a bit further off -- Nathan Small had 677-839 and Olga Pedroza saw 586-949.

Taiwan: KMT legislator targeted in appendectomy campaign recall not running for reelection


Michigan: Benton Harbor City Councilman, who was a potential candidate in failed recall race, running for mayoral office


Philippines: Bulacan Governor recall count back on

The counting of signatures against Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado is back on, after the election commission overturned a judicial ruling stopping the count. Petitioners need 319,707 signatures.

Wisconsin: Story of Marshfield 1912 mayoral recall

The interesting part of this is that the two candidates, Roger Connor (the recall loser) and A.G. Felker, faced off against each other three times in two years. Felker lost the original race, but won the recall and the reelection run.

Arizona: Costs of Huachuca City recalls

Huachuca City has seen five recall elections in the last 14 years, including Tuesday's recall of Mayor Ken Taylor (he survived). The cost has been more than $13,500. 354 early ballots were sent out, and 184 were returned.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

California: Yuba County tightening of marijuana law leads to discussion of recalls

Yuba County Supervisors decision to tighten restrictions on cultivating marijuana has led to discussions of a recall attempt. 

Montana: School principal removal leads to recall threats against Vaughn School Board

Vaughn's School Board members are facing threats of a recall over the removal of a elementary school principal. Montana is a malfeasance standard state, so without a showing of a specific reason, the recall won't go anywhere.

Arizona: Huachuca City Mayor survives recall

Huachuca City Mayor Ken Taylor beat back a recall, winning 105-71-52-45. 26% turnout, which the elections director called low. Taylor was elected in 2013.

Texas: Electra Commissioner resigns after recall attempt

Electra Commissioner Margie Bentley Scott resigned on March 5, after 146 signatures were handed in for her recall following the firing of the police chief. She has since moved to Oklahoma City after facing medical troubles.

Missouri: Bill filed to allow recall of Jefferson City School Board

Missouri State Representative Rob Vescovo has filed a bill allowing recalls of Jefferson City school board members. The bill came out after an investigation into nepotism by the board.

Maryland: Brunswick council proposes removing recall law

The Brunswick city council is considering removing its recall law or changing it for a potentially higher signature requirement plus a separate replacement race. Currently, Brunswick has a 25% voter turnout signature requirement. The bill would change it to 15% of registered voters (a high figure). The prime backer claims that Brunswick is the only municipality that has a single recall and replacement vote (which would seem to save money).

The issue seems to be an attempt to recall Mayor Karin Tome over a proposed "pay-as-you-throw" trash collection law.

North Dakota: Petitions handed in against Lincoln mayor

Petitions were handed in against Lincoln Mayor Robert Johnston. Petitioners handed in 219 signatures, they need 110. The issue is Johnston's veto of a vote to clear a drainage easement. He then vetoed a bill to allow overrides of a vetoes. Then the State House approved a bill which would allow city council's to override mayoral vetoes. 

Idaho: Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney survives recall vote due to turnout requirement

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Robin Dunn has staved off a recall, thanks to the "turnout veto" requirement. Most of the voters cast their ballots to remove the 30-years-in-office Dunn (3213-733), but they needed 9,157 votes to be successful. Clearly, they did not get anywhere near there. Here's what the recall was about.

Arizona: Four members of Cave Creek Council lose recall race

It looks like four members of the Cave Creek Council have been ousted in the recall held yesterday. Vice Mayor Adam Trenk lost to Susan Clancy (1073-810); Reg Monochino lost to Dick Esser (1030-851); Charlie Spitzer was ousted by Steve LaMar (999879) and Mike Durkin fell to Mark Lipsky (962-909).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Arizona: Push to recall Governor Doug Ducey merely symbolic

No surprise here, especially after the failed attempt to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There is are Facebook/online petitions out there calling for the recall of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R). Of course, Ducey has not served the six months needed to get a recall on the ballot. They also haven't actually filed any paperwork, so this is simply a symbolic attempt. They would need 376,604 signatures to get a recall actually on the ballot.

New Mexico: Dona Ana Treasurer who offered county employee money for sex facing threats

Dona Ana Country Treasurer David Guiterrez is facing recall threats over charges that he offered a county employee $1000 for sex, which he claims would "flatter" the co-worker. Guiterrez has written a letter with his "38,867" reasons for not resigning.

Texas: Laredo City council replacement race going to runoff

The replacement race in the Laredo City Council recall of Jorge Vera is going to a runoff. Hector Lee Patino and George Altgelt are facing off on April 25. Turnout numbers are interesting -- 20% showed up for the recall and 11% showed up for the replacement race.

Michigan: A look at the competing visions in Howell's School Board recall attempt


Maine: New Sharon approves recall ordinance

New Sharon voters approved a recall ordinance for indicted or convicted officials. Petitioners need 25% of turnout from the last gubernatorial election.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Michigan: Dayton Trustee recall language rejected

The language for the recall of Dayton Township Trustee Robert Steele was rejected by the election commission, though a new petition has since been filed against both Steele and Supervisor Robert Cook.

The petition’s first sentence alleges Steele “on January 5, 2015 voted in support of a property tax increase of one mill for four years.”
Steele maintains he didn’t vote in favor of higher taxes, but simply voted to place a tax proposal before the township’s 1,439 registered voters.
The new petition tries to recall Steele for voting for a 10% payraise for Cook.

Philippines: Petitions fail against Taytay mayor

The recall move against Taytay Mayor Janet de Leon-Mercado was found to have failed, due to the fact the signatures had incomplete addresses and some names without actual signatures. Petitioners needed 27,431 signatures (15% of voters) but were found to have 24,025.

New Mexico: Las Cruces City council recall fails due to high signature rejections

The recall of three Las Cruces city councilors, Olga Pedroza, Nathan Small and Gill Sorg, Dist. 5, seems to have failed. Petitioners seemed to have missed by quite a bit (949 needed-586 verified), (839-677) and (1091-996).

I'm not sure how many signatures were actually collected, but the number is apparently over 5000 total so this could be a case of a heavy rejection rate. The petitioners are able to go back out there and amend the petitions.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Massachusetts: Recall rewind -- The history of the Saugus' use of the recall

The Daily Item's Tara Vocino has a good look back at the last Saugus recall, 40 years ago. The reason was the same -- a firing of a town manager.
What’s different this time around is that at the time of the last recall, elected officials facing the possibility of recall had the option of starting over — in a sense. They could resign and enter the special election as private citizens in an attempt to get voted back into office According to town counsel John Vasapoli, the town charter was amended in 1979 to require any elected official who is voted out as part of a successful recall to wait two years before running for office again. 
Fast forwarding to today, that means if Selectmen Paul H. Allan, Maureen P. Dever, Ellen L. Faiella and Stephen L. Castinetti are recalled, they can’t run again until 2017. Four decades ago, selectmen Clayton Trefry, Christie Serino, David Dwyer and John Bucchiere resigned their seats and were among 14 candidates on the ballot. Selectmen Benjamin MacGlashin did not resign and was subject to recall.
Bucchiere, MacGlashin and Dwyer were voted out of office in the special election, while Trefry and Serino were the only two selectmen to retain their seats.
And there's a previous recall as well in 1961 -- over an alcohol license. The town council refused to approve the license and then approved one for a different story. Selectmen Samuel Ludwig, Arthur Gustafson Sr. and Benjamin Rice, who were against granting Carr’s the license, were recalled.

Maine: New Sharon holding vote on recall ordinance

New Sharona is holding a town meeting tomorrow, where they will vote on a recall election ordinance. This would only be for officials who are indicted or convicted. Petitioners would need 25% of turnout). The state has a different law that allows recalls if the conduct occurred during the term and the municipality has to be the victim.

Colorado: Colorado Springs City Councilman facing recall is now subject to ethic complaint

Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Helen Collins had an ethics complaint filed over a real estate deal with tax-limitation author and convicted felon Douglas Bruce, which helped him avoid payment of a nearly $7,600 court judgment he owes the city. The ethics committee is checking into this, presumably before Collins upcoming recall.

California: Oroville City Councilor petitions move to gathering stage

A second attempt to recall Oroville City Councilor David Pittman will move forward, (the first failed because the petitioners couldn't get enough signatures on the initial petition). The issue was the removal of trees in front of the Oroville Cemetery, though the same petitioners also opposed the opening of a Wal-Mart superstore.  The petitioners originally wanted to knock out the whole council, but two members haven't been there the requisite 90 days, and they decided against targeting the other two.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ohio: Forums being held to recall Cleveland Mayor

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has been facing recall threats over the death of Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson. There are now setting up forums to get the recall going.

Ohio: East Cleveland mayor facing recall threats

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton is facing petitions over the city's failure to have rock salt and pothole patching material and for the mayor's possible support for a merger with Cleveland. Petitioners need about 1000 signatures. He has been mayor since 2010.

Wisconsin: GAB facing potential overhauls and challenges from Republicans over recall work


New Jersey: Retaliation in West Wildwood recall leads to $350,000 settlement

An incredible story here. A couple (James and Lori Perloff) who led a recall effort claimed they faced retaliation due to their leading a recall effort against West Wildwood Mayor Herbert Frederick and Commissioner Gerard McNamara in 2010 (the two survived the recall vote). Apparently, they had a good claim -- they just received a $350,000 settlement from the city (needless to say, there's no admission of wrongdoing). While this payment is paid by insurance, the borough's yearly budget is about $2 million, so that's a serious settlement.

The retaliation was a 66-foot long/maybe 4 feet high wall built in the public right of way adjacent to their property, which prevented the Perloffs from using their driveways and garages. Here's a picture of the wall. Do check it out.

Arizona: Ballots being turned in for Cave Creek recall

1100 ballots have been turned into for the recall of Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk, councilmen, Mike Durkin, Reg Monachino and Charles Spitzer. The Sonaroan News (which appears to be very pro-recall) claims that polls show the recall will be successful. They list a host of reasons for the recall, including:

The Rose Law Group, Trenk’s employer, filing a $10 million claim against the town by Trenk’s friend T.C. Thorstenson, upon Trenk’s recommendation; Trenk signing the late actor James Gandolfini’s name to his own recall petition, which is currently under investigation by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Trenk’s lack of residency; and the slate’s link to Trenk.

Phillipines: Bulacan Governor attempts to stop signature counting

Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado has filed a claim to stop the validation of signatures  in his recall.

Oregon: Gearhart Mayoral recall scheduled for March 26


Nebraska: Two Alliance Councilmen facing petitions

Two Alliance City councilmen, Fred Feldges and Wally Seiler, are facing petitions over a fight that the lead petitioner has done on  the Central School Building (which is now closed).

Colorado: Council supporters give public hearing against recall of Colorado Springs Councilwoman


Oregon: Clackamas Water Board recall leader files to run to join board


Texas: Hearne City Council member ousted in recall

Hearne City Council member Maxine Vaughn was ousted on Tuesday, 269-260. Turnout was about 18%. The replacement is by appointment, though they may leave the seat open until the May election. Vaughn was in office almost 8 years, and the recall was over claims of incompetence. This was a case where the city council refused to set a recall, requiring a judicial decision.

Monday, March 2, 2015

North Carolina: Proposal for recall law in Stanly County Board of Education

The Stanly County Board of Education is being targeted with a recall bill -- and an attempt to make the school board a partisan endeavor. The whole episode was started with an attempted consolidation and closing of schools.
The trick here is that the school board members are not eligible for recalls. So the local House Rep. Justin Burr has filed bills that allows for recalls and that requires school board members to identify with a political party.

Massachusetts: Lancaster town administrator settles claim

The dismissal of the town administrator led to this summer's recall, and the ouster of two selectmen. Now, there's been a settlement in his lawsuit.

Massachusetts: New Fall River Mayor already getting ready for reelection race

He just won office in a recall, but he'll be up in September. So, time to start preparing for the reelection race -- as this story makes clear.

Texas: Claims of race-baiting in Hearne recall

Here -- the recall vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Phillipines: Puerto PRincesa Mayor stops signatures verification process on video

Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron has been caught disrupting the signature verification effort against him on video, though he claimed that it was stopped by the Election Commission (COMELEC) itself. He's caught on the video ripping up one of the Comelec resolutions and generally throwing his weight around.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Newsweek article on the Scott Walker recall rocket

Here's my article on how the recall resulted in Scott Walker's meteoric rise to the top of the charts. A couple of key points in the piece:

1) As readers of this blog know, recalls frequently result in a big boost to the target, especially if they survive. I was talking about this during the 2012 VP selection chatter, and thought Walker could be a top candidate for the job. Obviously, he wasn't chosen, but the logic still holds.

2) Midwest Governors are always talked about as presidential candidates, but they rarely get there -- Stevenson's the last to get a nomination, and the Idol of Ohio, the originator of McKinelynomics , William McKinley was the last to win.

3) Here's what I think is the crux of this piece -- the sheer volume of mentions in the WSJ/NYT of Walker compared to other governors of much larger and more economically important states (see that below). I would have really loved to figure out a search on Fox News for this (as I think they would have had a larger impact on the target audience than any other news source), but I have no idea how to perform that search on a free engine. Similar problems prevented me from expanding this to the LA Times and the Washington Post. The February 5 date was a technological limitation -- I would have liked to go back to January 1, 2011, but the WSJ has a four-year time limit.

WSJ/NYT and undoubtedly other papers, wire services, radio and TV stations covered that recall extensively. There are other governors from that area who got significant press (Mitch Daniels most notably), but he was a part of the Great Mentioning, so his press was very different.

Now the results of all of this coverage doesn't mean that Walker was super-well known -- relatively recent polls have shown that the majority of Republicans did not have an opinion about him. But I think his name was out there and in (for Republican primary voters) an extremely positive connotation. This is why Walker is pushing forward.

Therefore, the campaign received massive news coverage–far eclipsing what other governors would get for anything other than a scandal or a serious presidential campaign. A quick search of The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) shows this. From February 5, 2011 to December 31, 2012, Scott Walker was mentioned in 422 New York Times and 667 Wall Street Journal stories.
Compare that to some of his fellow GOP governors who were elected at the exact same time from much larger states with far greater economic impact on the country. Ohio’s John Kasich received mentions in 64 NYT and 167 WSJ pieces. Michigan’s Rick Snyder saw his name in 105 NYT and 196 WSJ stories. Florida’s Rick Scott was mentioned 214 times by the NYT and 152 times by the WSJ. And Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett appeared in 68 NYT and 117 WSJ articles.