Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Jersey: Flemington-Raritan School Board President facing petition from five members, plus recall effort

Board President Anna Fallon, who is facing a recall effort, has been called on to step down as president (though remain on the board) by five other board members. The issue seems to be the behavior of the Superintendent, who left.

California: New member of Tulare City Council endorse recall of Medical Center Director

The recall of Dr. Parmod Kumar, which is set for July 11, has received the endorsement of City Councilman Jose Sigala.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Michigan: Signatures to be handed in against Flint Mayor

Petitioners are claiming that they have over 6,000 signatures in the recall against Mayor Karen Weaver over the hiring of a new trash collection company.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

California: Editorial calling for the recall of Governor Jerry Brown

No suggestion here on who would put up the millions in start-up cost to remove him a year early.

Philippines: Cebu City Mayor says he's unafraid of recall effort

Mayor Tomas Osmena has thrown down the gauntlet to a leader of recall effort against him, Presidential Assitant for the Visayas Michel Lloyd Dino, saying that he will sign the recall petitioners himself. However, Dino claims he is not leading a recall effort, but just pushing against a Bus Rapid Transit project.

Taiwan: Motion approved for recall of New Power Party Executive Chairman

New Power Party Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang is facing a recall effort seemingly over his support for same-sex marriage laws. Petitioners need 25,120 signatures to get on the ballot.

New Jersey: Wayne Councilman recall filed

Councilman Richard Jazterzbski, who has been handed two no confidence votes, has refused to resign and is facing recall efforts over his comments to Passaic County Republican organizers after his campaign signs were removed from the headquarters windows. Petitioners would need about 1317 signatures to get on the ballot.

California: Hanford City Council petitions approved

Petitions have been approved against City Councilman Francisco Ramirez, as petitioners need 853 signatures to get on the ballot.

Missouri: Oakville Councilman facing recall efforts

Councilman Ernie Trakas (R) is facing a recall effort with a number of complaints, the only specific one being a delay of zoning approval process. According to the report, petitioners would need more than 14,000 signatures to get on the ballot, though that sounds like a misprint and is probably a fraction of that.

Tarkas claims the recall is being lef by a legislative assistant he fired (the former St. George Mayor Carmen Wilkerson) as well as the owner of construction company that Tarkas has blocked from moving into a new place.

Tarkas has also regularly voted with the council's Democrats, leading to disgruntled supporters in the GOP.

Alaska: Final results on Homer recall

The Councilmembers all survived: Donna Aderhold (825-1099); David Lewis (825-1098) and Catriona Reynolds (850-1073). Here's an op-ed attacking the political recall nature of the Homer recall, and specifically citing some of the details of the 1959 Alaska Convention.

Texas: Signatures submitted against two Alice Councilmembers

261 signatures were handed in against councilmembers Elida Garza and Yolanda Moran over the support for a plan to reopen the city's natatorium and water park. Petitioners need 113 valids to get on the ballot.

Colorado: Fremont County Sheriff recall effort fails

The recall effort against Sheriff Jim Beicker (R) seems to have failed. Petitioners needed 4166 signatures, and they claim to have gotten about 600. The issue was the confiscation of horses in a alleged animal cruelty casel a civil lawsuit of a the death of an inmate and a Lieutenant who is facing charges of misconduct and abuse of public records for keeping evidence to an old homicide in a storage unit. Beicker won his fourth term unopposed in 2014.

Georgia: A look at recall attempts in Gwinnett County

The recall threats against Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who has faced a public reprimand for his comments against Congressman John Lewis, could now start, as the 180 day waiting period ends. The article notes two other attempts against Commissioners: one in 2010 against Chairman Charles Bannister, which was thrown out by a judge (Bannister resigned shortly afterward) and a failed attempted against Chairwoman Lillian Webb in 1990 that didn't get the signatures.

North Dakota: Petitions submitted against LaMoure County State's Attorney

Petitioners handed in 613 signatures against State's Attorney Tonya Duffy. They need 541 to get on the ballot. The issue seems to be Duffy's lenient treatment of charges against a driver in a drunk-driving manslaughter case.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Massachusetts: Court blocks recall against second Townsend Selectman

The recall against Selectman Gordon Clark has been enjoined, joining the one against selectman Cindy King.

Texas: Signatures handed in against Alice Councilmembers

261 signatures were turned in against Council members Elida Garza and Yolanda Moran. Petitioners need 113 valids. The issue was a vote to open a multi-use facility.

California: Redding Vice Mayor and Councilwoman facing recall effort

Vice Mayor Kristen Schreder and Councilwoman Francie Sullivan are facing a recall effort that may not get on the ballot until 2018. Petitioners need 9857 signatures (interestingly, the town has 49,285 voters -- if they had 50,000 the total would have dropped to 7500). The recall is allegedly about raises and a lack of concern for public safety, though the failed passage of two public safety tax measures may play a role.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Jersey: Flemington-Raritan School Board President facing petitions.

President Anna Fallon is facing a recall effort. Not too many details on the recall itself, but the Superintendent was retired and seemed somewhat unpopular.

Massachusetts: Second Townsend Selectmen challenges recall effort

Selectman Gordon Clark is following in the path of Selectman Cindy King in trying to get an injunction against a recall effort. King's was granted, but is now waiting for the appeal.

North Dakota: Bismarck circulator files motion

This is over the Mayor Mike Seminary recall -- the petitioner was deemed unqualified due to a residency requirement and he is demanding a proof of authority. We've seen similar laws declared unconstitutional in other states.

Washington: Black Diamond Councilmember recall injunction appealed

A recall attempt against Councilmember Pat Pepper has been halted while a judge's decision to allow the recall to continue is appealed. The petitioners are trying to open up the signatures gathering again.

The recall is over violations of the Open Meeting law, failure to attend council meetings, failure to enact a temporary budget and vote to change a master development review team contracts.

Louisiana: Lafayette City Marshall facing recall effort

City Marshall Brian Pope is facing a recall effort in his term after he was sued by a newspaper organization for refusing to produce emails in the campaign for Sheriff. The emails allegedly would prove that Pope conspired with an unsuccessful candidate, Chad Leger, who is currently the Scott police chief. Pope was sentenced to 7 days for contempt and was indicted by a grand jury on malfeasance and perjury charges.

Petitioners need 27,500 signatures in 180 days.

Alaska: Homer recall appears to be failing, with absentee ballots still to be counted

We'll wait for the final results, but it appears that the three commissioners will survive the recall attempt.

New Mexico: Three Tucumcari commissioners survive recall vote

Mayor Ruth Ann-Litfield and commissioners Amy Gutierrez  and Ralph Moya survived their recall vote in a special election. The recall was over fines given to a business owner over unkempt property.

Maryland: Bowie Councilmember recall effort fails

The recall effort against Diane Polangin failed, as petitioners didn't hand in signatures -- Petitioners claimed they had 2,300, though they need at least 2500.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

California: Senate Dems introduce law to limit recalls

Petitioners have handed in more than 31,000 signatures against state Senator John Newman (D). Senate Democrats have drafted a law that would allow voters to remove their signatures from petitions within 30 days and would give lawmakers 30 more days to review the financial impact of a recall election.

I'll post in the future on how these type of changes happen fairly regularly.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Alaska: Haines recall scheduled for August 15

The special election against Haines Borough Assemblymembers Heather Lende, Tom Morphet and Tresham Gregg will be held on August 15. Petitioners handed in at least 258 signatures. They are accused of open meeting violations and two of them are accused of coercing a subordinate. The effort was headed by a resident, Don Turner Jr., who applied for an open assembly seat.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Massachusetts: Townsend appeal heard by State Supreme Judicial Court justice

A State Supreme Judicial Court justice heard oral arguments on the judicial stay issues to stop the recall of Selectman Cindy King. The recall is set to take place on June 19 if the stay is lifted.

California: State Senate recall gets nasty


New Mexico: Magdalena School Board members facing petition attempt

Two School Board members, Chad Perkins and Sharon Harris, are facing recall efforts, though the first attempt has been rejected due to filing issues. Petitioners need to file an application with the Socorro County Clerk's office in order to get a determination as to whether the facts meet the cause requirement of the recall law. Petitioners would need 154 signatures -- the issue isn't clear yet.

Oregon: Gladstone City Councilmembers kicked out

City Councilors Steve Johnson (D) and Kim Sieckmann (R) were kicked out in a May 23 recall (by mail-in ballot). The vote was (56.7 against Sieckmann and 57.2 against Johnson. with 20 turnout out.

Councilor Neil Reisner was apparently involved in the recall effort. The issue was a claim of illegal contracting and the lead petitioner was a failed city council candidate. The chairs of both parties denounced the recall effort. The City Administrator has since resigned.

The election apparently could end the city's $1.5 million lawsuit over Clackamas County library funding.

Nigeria: Kogi West Senator facing a recall effort

Kogi West Senator Dino Melaye, who has faced assassination attempts and "has been having it rough" with administrator of a local government council, is facing recall efforts.

Michigan: Jackson Councilman/Mayoral candidate facing recall efforts

Councilman Derek Dobies, who is also running for mayor, is facing a recall effort over his vote for a non-discrimination ordinance and tweets he made about signers to petitions (essentially that their names will be publicly available). Petitioners need 495 signatures.

Alaska: Homer Recall set to vote on June 13

The recall has been scheduled for this Tuesday -- which suggests that there won't be an appeal of the Superior Court judge's decision to allow the recall of city council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds.

South Africa: President Zuma could be recalled as head of state at ANC conference


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Texas: Two Alice City Council members targeted in recall

City Council members Yolanda Moran and Elida Garza, who were both recently elected, are facing a recall effort over the city's vote to open a multi-use facility. Petitioners need at least 100 signatures to get on the ballot.

Michigan: Harper Creek School Board member facing recall effort

School Board Member Vikki Bauer is facing petitions, though the committee is hoping she resigns first. Bauer, who's been on the board since May 2011, was kicked out as board president in March and censured in April for speaking to township officials with the board's consent. She was also censured in May for revealing sensitive information on a Title IX violation. Harper Creek has spent more than $16,500 on legal fees defending Bauer, though it may be closer to $25,000. Petitioners need 1280 signatures to get on the ballot.

Alaska: Haines Assembly recall turned in

Petitioners handed in petitions against members Tom Morphet, Tresham Gregg and Heather Lende Each petition needs 258 signatures and must meet the malfeasance standard (though it could be that standard is lower after the Homer recall effort). The issue is a claimed violation of the Open Meeting Act over a vote on harbor expansion.

California: Redding Recall effort started

It;s not clear who they are going for, but the recall is being led by a group called "Take Back Redding" and is over crime and businesses flight.

California: State Senate recall effort money come from out of district

The effort against State Senator Josh Newman (D) seems to be focused from out of the district, with $29,000 coming from San Diego County (the committee has raised $44,000). So far Reform California and the California Republican Party has reported spending almost $408,000 to get the 63,600 signatures needed.

Maryland: Bowie City Council member recall based on question of registered voters

Petitioners have handed in about 2500 signatures in the recall of Council member Diane Polangin and they are hoping that an updated voter rolls push the number of voters below 9500. If it is over 10,000 they won't hand in the signatures. Petitioners need 25% of registereds. The issue was a vote in favor of an apartment complex.

Wisconsin: Two River Valley School Board Members survive recall vote

Boardmembers Mark Strozinsky (1071-475) and Frederic Iausly (1073-474) survived a recall vote over their support for the closing of two elementary schools.

Georgia: Savannah Alderman facing censure and recall threat

Alderman Tony Thomas is facing a censure resolution led by Mayor Eddie DeLoach after cursing a reporter asking questions about his home being in foreclosure (and leaving his cats behind). There is also talk of a recall effort.

Washington: Paper calls for resignation of Yakima County Clerk rather than face recall

Clerk Janelle Riddle has faced criticism for numerous actions leading to an effort to recall her. The effort has just started but clearly has some support. Washington is a malfeasance state, so petitioners need to meet the cause hurdle to get on the ballot.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Louisiana: Recall reform effort dies in Senate Committee on 3-3 vote


California: Maywood recall effort against Councilman and Clerk fails

The recall effort against Councilman Eduardo De La Riva and City Clerk Gerardo Mayagoitia have failed. In 2016 all six city officials faced recall threats over opposition to Mayor Ramon Medina's policies. Medina and a former councilman are allegedly behind the De La Riva recall effort.

India: Look at the basis for a recall law


Massachusetts: Townsend Selectmen recall halted by judge

The recall election against Selectmen Cindy King and Gordon Clark, scheduled for June 19, has been stopped by a judge. No word on what the basis of the ruling, though it would seem that the judge has accepted the argument that the recall was not covered by the malfeasance standard (over failing to support the town and police chief), did not meet the standard. Looks like this may be going to an appellate court.

Texas: Lakeway Mayor facing petitions

Mayor Joe Bain is facing petitions put out by supporters of former City Council candidate Tiffany McMillian. The petitioners are complaining of a "small group that has bottlenecked the government..." The grounds include a claim that Bain used a fake name "John Smart" to influence a $23 million bond for a police station that passed by nine votes. Petitioners need 1,143 signatures.

Louisiana: Lake Arthur Mayor resigns in face of recall

Mayor Robert Bertrand resigned after a recall was filed against him, though it is not clear what the recall was about. The petition was approved on June 1, so signature gathering was just starting..

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wisconsin: River Valley School District recall happening on May 30

School Board members Mark Strozinsky and Frederic Iausly will be up for a vote on May 30. Strozkinsky is facing Joyce Atkisson and Iausly is having a rematch with Herman Kaldenberg, who he beat in 2015. The issue was a vote to close two schools and consolidate another.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

California: San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem facing recall effort

Mayor Pro Tem Sergio Farias is facing recall petitions over claims that he failed to follow through on a promise to oppose a San Diego Gas & Electric substation expansion, though his voting records show that he was opposed to the expansion. Both of the original petitions were rejected by the city. Petitioners would need 589 signatures to get on the ballot.

Alaska: Judge allows Homer recall to go forward

A judge in Alaska has given the green light to the Homer City Council recalls, rejecting both the claims that the petitions did not meet the malfeasance standard/ judicial recall rules in the causes listed for a recall and tossing out the argument that the recall violated the first amendment rights of the council. The court specifically took apart the (to my eyes) novel first amendment claim, noting that it would "eviscerate the recall" and calling it an "unreasonable interpretation."

The ACLU/Homer City Council seems to have a claim on overturning the decision based on the first part.  The court held that a previous Alaska Supreme Court decision requires that the cause requirements of the recall needs to be liberally construed. However, it is not clear how an appellate court will rule, especially in light of the rejection of the Rep. Lindsey Holmes recall for flipping parties. We've seen in Washington, Montana and Minnesota that the courts have been unwilling to take a liberal view of the malfeasance standard.

Monday, May 22, 2017

California: Artesia Mayor and Councilmen facing recall efforts

Mayor Ali Taj and Councilmen Miguel Canales and Victor Manalo are facing a recall led by the former Parks and Recreation Commissioner and the recall effort has now led to charges of fraud and forgery in the collection of signatures.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rhode Island: Providence City Council attempts to remove president with 2/3rd vote

Following the successful recall of Councilman Kevin Jackson, the city council is looking to President Luis A. Aponte by a proposed rule change that would allow him to be kicked off by a 2/3rds vote. Aponte refused to resign after being charged with embezzlement and misuse of campaign funds. Sounds like a potential court fight.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

California: Napa Valley School District facing recall over mascot, hazing and deficit

The Napa Valley Unified School Board is facing an effort against all seven trustees over the expulsion of five football players for hazing, a million dollar budget deficit and a claim that the board and the Superintendent have a "silent agenda" to replace the High School's Indian mascot.

The effort is against Chairman Jose Hurtado, Trustees Joe Schunk, Tom Kensok, Icela Martin, Robb Felder, Elba Gonzalez-Mares and Stacy Bratlien. Petitioners need at least 10,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

There was a recall against two school board trustees in 1982, though they failed. Four trustees at the St. Helena School district were kicked out in 2010.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Alasaka: My op-ed on the Homer Recall and the difference between Political and Malfeasance Standard recalls

In this piece, I note that in Alaska there have been at least 22 recalls attempted which received enough signatures to make the ballot in the state over the last six years. Of those recalls, 17 officials have been kicked out, though recalls against the Wrangell Medical Center and the mayor and city council of Dot Lake make up 13 of those. The other four officials who were kicked out were the mayor of Whitter, "the weirdest town in Alaska," the mayor of North Slope Borough, a Galena school board member and a Wasilla city councilman who was accused of trashing a hotel room. Only one official survived a recall vote, the mayor of Houston. In Holy Cross, the city council simply refused to schedule a recall, which killed the effort.

Five other recalls efforts, one against the governor, two against state representatives, one against an assembly representative, and four against Anchorage school board members, are a bit more instructive. Using the same arguments that the ACLU has cited in Homer, they were rejected by governmental officials as beyond the scope of Alaska's recall law. For this, it pays to understand how the state's law works compared to how people might expect a recall to operate.

While 38 states allow the recall on the lower level, only 19, including Alaska, allow it for some or all state-level officials. There are two broad categories of states with recall laws. Eleven states have what is called a political recall law. This means that an official can face a recall for almost any reason. There is no need to prove a cause of action, such as criminal behavior for the recall to move forward. Essentially, all famous recalls in the US, such as California Governor Gray Davis or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have taken place under these laws.

The other eight states, including Alaska, have a form of a recall called judicial recall (not to be confused with a recall of a judge) or malfeasance standard recall. For recalls to take place in these states, the petition must show a violation of either law or in some cases of incompetence? These laws are not uniform. In Illinois, it is only the governor who is covered by recall and in Virginia, there is no election but rather a recall petition triggers a judicial hearing. The judge decides whether to kick out the official. But all require an agency or the courts to hold that a specific, statutorily delineated bad act was perform by the elected official.

Utah: Op-ed By Bar president article against recall of judges in Utah

Here -- this was over a column by Robert Gehrke calling for a recall of judges based on comments during a sexual assault case. In that case, Judge Thomas Low said "great men sometimes do bad things." He did sentence the defendant to up to life in prison.
A proposal to subject judges to recall elections is no small thing, inasmuch as Utah's judicial system is born out of a document no less important than the Utah Constitution. Our state's founders established Article I of Utah's Constitution to create an independent judiciary, a principle anchored in the English Magna Carta of 1215.
In Lyon v. Burton, the Utah Supreme Court observed that the purpose of an independent judiciary was "to bar sovereign power, whether kingly, parliamentary, or legislative, from undermining an independent judiciary and arbitrarily abolishing remedies that protect the person, property, or reputation of each individual."
Article VIII of the Utah Constitution goes on to permit judges to sit for extended terms, subject to voter approval in six-year retention elections. The retention election system allows jurists to dispense justice without regard to the vagaries of day-to-day public opinion.
As former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor once told Utah lawyers, "The reason why judicial independence is so important is because there has to be a place where being right is more important than being popular."
Further, Utah's Judicial Conduct Commission administers the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct. That code consists of stringent ethical canons aimed at ensuring the fair and objective administration of justice. In response to filed complaints, the Judicial Conduct Commission can investigate judges and, where violations are found, recommend to the Utah Supreme Court disciplinary action, including that a judge be reprimanded, censured, suspended or removed from the bench.
Public reports indicate that at least one group has filed a complaint regarding Judge Low with the commission. In short, there is already an effective system in place to respond to concerns of the public, including crime victims.
Utah's constitutional and administrative underpinnings of its judicial branch have served Utah well. Thanks to a Legislature that has taken great care to preserve a strong judicial branch and a governor who has carefully selected well-qualified judges, our state is widely regarded nationally as having an excellent judiciary.
Utah's judges and court administrators enjoy an excellent national reputation when it comes to the efficient and effective operation of a judicial system that wrings exceptional value from every dollar it is allocated. My clients from around the country report their deep satisfaction with Utah judges who intelligently and dispassionately apply the law to the facts. Utah's excellent reputation in this regard is a testament to the success that comes from the proper maintenance of an independent judiciary.
It is currently fashionable to criticize judges with whom one disagrees. Of course, the press and the public should engage in spirited debate about important decisions handed down by courts, and even dissect the statements judges make in issuing their decisions. That is the nature of the open "perfect union" in which we live and clearly the province of the Fourth Estate. But to respond to controversial remarks or decisions by calling for judicial recall elections ignores the already-existing strength and credibility of Utah's judiciary and the importance of judicial independence that is founded in our state's Constitution.
Robert O. Rice is president of the Utah State Bar.