Sunday, August 20, 2017

California: Senate recall meets signature requirement

Petitioners have reportedly handed in more than the 63,593 valid signatures needed to get a recall of Senator Josh Newman (D) on the ballot.

California: Proponents move to disqualify Judge who temporarily blocked start of Santa Clara County Judge recall

Petitioners have asked for a disqualification of retired Orange County Judge Marjorie Laird Carter, who temporarily blocked the start of the signature gathering campaign against Judge Aaron Persky until after an August 23 hearing.

Persky argues that California's Secretary of State, not the county registrar, should have jurisdiction over the effort.

Friday, August 18, 2017

California: Fair Political Practice Commission approves campaign finance rules

The Commission agreed 3-1 to overturn a rule that politicians are limited to a $4400 contribution from their campaign accounts to other lawmakers facing a recall.

Michigan: Three Fraser petitions against Mayor rejected by Election Commission, one withdrawn

All four of the petitions against Mayor Joe Nichols were rejected by the Election Commission, including one that was withdrawn due to the fact that it left out the title "mayor."

Louisiana: Welsh Mayor and Alderman facing petitions

Petitions have been filed against four-term Mayor Carolyn Louviere, with a claim that though no reason for the recall has yet been reported. Petitioners need 689 signatures in 180 days.

Alderman Colby Perry has been facing a pre-existing recall effort, and petitioners claim to have gathered more than 350 signatures already.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

California: 89 law professors oppose recall of Santa Clara Judge


Colorado: Signatures handed in against Custer Commissioners

Petitioners need 470 signatures to get Bob Kattnig on the ballot, 582 to get Jay Printz and 735 for a recall of Donna Hood.

Nebraska: Rulo Board Member survives recall vote

Board Member Quincey Smith survived a recall vote 16-37, with a 43 percent turnout. The issue was whether Smith was using road equipment without proper training and whether he violated open meetings laws.

Rhode Island: Providence replacement race won by Democrat


Michigan: Judge to rule on whether Flint Councilman can run for Council seat and in mayoral recall at the same time

Councilman Scott Kincaid wants to be on the ballot for both his council seat and to replace the mayor in a recall vote. A Judge is expected to decided whether Kincaid can run in both races at the same time under Michigan's new 2012 law.

Alaska: Haines Recall effort fails against three assembly members

Three Haines Assembly members, Tresham Gregg (433-616), Heather Lende (405-644) and Tom Morphet (440-611) all survived recall votes according to unofficial numbers. The recall was claimed to be about a violation of open meeting laws and coercion of the local police chief.

Nevada: Third State Senator targeted in recall effort

Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D) is the third Democratic/Nonpartisan Senator facing a recall effort, though once again without a specific reason. For the first time the Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R) weighed in in favor of the recalls. Cannizzarro is a first-term senator who won 51-49.

Petitioners would need 14975 signatures by November 14. If Republicans win all three races they would regain the Senate majority.

Nevada: Lt. Governor's private law firm serving as legal counsel to recall groups

Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison (R) won't comment on the recall beyond saying he supports the voters "right to choose' but his law firm is serving a legal counsel to the recall committees.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

California: Appeals Court delays enforcement of new recall law

The law, which throws up some challenges to the State Senator Josh Newman (D) recall, has been challenged by Newman's recall proponents. The Appellate Court order holds that the recall effort will take place under the old rules.

Missouri: Scott City Mayor resigns in face of investigation and petitions

Mayor Ron Cummins resigned (along with the City Administrator) after State Rep. Holly Rehder called for an investigation following the resignation of the police chief.

A petition had been started and it included two council members as leaders of the effort.

Ohio: Loveland Mayor resigns instead of facing recall

Mayor Mark Fitzgerald resigned, so there will be no recall for his position. The article does give some details on previous recalls in Ohio.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Michigan: 18 candidates file for Flint Mayoral recall

Among the candidates is one of the leaders of the petition effort, Arthur Woodson, as well as Councilman Scott Kincaid.

Nevada: Second Senator facing recall effort

Senator Patricia Farley (Nonpartisan) is the second senator to face a recall threat this week, with this one being lead by the conservative political group Keystone Corporation. Farley was elected as Republican in 2014 and switched to Nonpartisan (caucusing with Democrats) in 2016. Farley is on the Nevada Legislative Commission, which handles business when the legislature is not in session.

No reason has been given for the recall effort, and petitioners would need more than 7100 signatures to get on the ballot (from people who voted in the 2014 election)

Farley is up in 2018 and not seeking reelection.

California: Santa Clara County Judge recall temporarily halted

The recall attempt against Judge Aaron Persky has been held up over a claim that the recall proponents need permission from the Secretary of State. There is a hearing scheduled for August 23.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nevada: State Senator targeted in recall effort

State Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D) is facing a recall effort led by former Republican Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus (who was the target of a failed recall effort himself). There is no reason given for the recall effort, though there's now a claim that it is about Woodhouse's support for a so-called sanctuary city bill (the GOP has called the bill that). Woodhouse won reelection in 2016 by 469 votes.

Petitioners would need 14412 signatures from voters who voted in the 2016 election by October 31 to get on the ballot.

California: Op-ed discusses Newman recall effort


Michigan: Fraser mayor facing recall following sexual harassment charges

Mayor Joseph Nichols is facing a recall threat following charges that he and a councilman sexually harassed city workers, though the recall does not cite the allegations. The issue in the petition is the more nebulous claim that Nichols is not to be trusted, citing a muting the mic during a council meeting, a failure to comply with a FOIA request and other actions.

Michigan: Westwood Heights Board of Education recall rejected by Election Commission

A recall attempt against Board Members Trina Sanders and Lester Fykes was rejected by the Election Commission on factualness grounds. The petition claimed violation of Open Meeting Act laws, a personal vendetta against a former Superintendent and misuse of money. The petitioner was also looking to recall President DeWayn Allen and Alvera Cobb, but since neither has been on the board a year, they are not yet subject to recall.

Colorado: County Road condition debate leads to recall threats against Logan County Commissioners

Commissioners Joe McBride, Byron Pelton and Dave Donaldson were threatened with recalls during a debate over graveled road conditions. Petitioners would need 1893 signatures for Donaldson, 2000 for Pelton and 2366 for McBride.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

California: Petitions being looked at against Long Beach Councilwoman

Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce is the target of a recall after she was found on the side of a freeway with her former Chief of Staff in an alleged domestic violence incident between the two. Petitioners have also complained about her ties to local unions and her not being helpful in a push to quiet protests around a downtown hotel. There have also been questions over her blocking people on social media accounts. Petitioners would need 6463 signatures to get on the ballot.

Idaho: Star Mayor, City Council recall on the ballot in November

Mayor Chad Bell and Councilman Kevin Nielson will be on the ballot on November 7 over their support for a 200-unit apartment complex. Petitioners handed in over 700 signatures for Bell and 693 for Nielson.

California: Lake Forest recall signatures handed in

Petitioners handed in 16307 signatures against Councilman Andrew Hamilton. Petitioners need at least 8834.

Texas: Bowie City Secretary banned from answering questions about recall proposal

Apparently, the city secretary is allegedly now being barred from answering questions from the petitioners on the recall.

Philippines: Attempt to change recall law to prevent end-run around term-limit laws

The push is to stop officials who have hit the three-term limit from using the recall to return to office.

Michigan: Signatures filed against Jackson Councilman, who may be on the ballot twice in November

Councilman Derek Dobies, who is running in the mayoral race, is also facing a recall effort in November. Petitioners handed in 645 signatures, they need 493.

Michigan: Spring Lake Village President resigns in face of recall

President Joyce Hatton resigns following a vote on her plan to dissolve the village government and eventually disincorporate the town (which failed 556-325). The second recall petition was just filed against Hatton.

Arizona: Recall effort against Governor fails

The recall effort against Governor Doug Ducey has failed. Petitioners needed 376,604 signatures, no word on how many they claimed to have gotten.

West Virginia: Senate Democrat looks to push for recall law

Senator Richard Ojeda (D) is now proposing a recall law for the state following Governor Jim Justice's switching from D to R. Ojeda has said that this is not a Republican versus Democrat bill, which seems accurate, as it is unlikely to have any effect on Justice himself.

Michigan: Kalkaska residents considering recall against Village President

Following a series of Facebook posts, including one allegedly calling for the killing Muslims, a recall effort is being contemplated against President Jeff Sieting. The council is also facing a lawsuit by former employees claiming that they are owed lifetime health benefits.

Ohio: Loveland Mayor recall makes the ballot

Petitions handed in against Mayor Mark J. Fitzgerald has enough signatures to make the ballot. The election will be held on November 7.

California: Fair Political Practices Commissioner spoke with Senate Democrats over campaign finance law related to Senate recall efforts

Commissioner Brian Hatch, a former lobbysit for the firefighters union and a Democrat, had discussions with the attorney for the Senate Democrats over a push to reverse the FPPC position on recall election contribution limits. This is all related to the push for a recall of state Senator Josh Newman (D).

The discussion is over a 2002 FPPC interpretation that state candidates are subject to contribution limits when they give money to a candidate-controlled recall committee, which would limit donations to $4400 maximum. In July, there was a 3-1 vote to adopt new rules (two Republicans and one Democrat voted to change the rules; one Democrat voted against).

Wisconsin: Petitions filed against Onalaska School Board member

Board member Jake Speed, who was censured for refusing to perform the duties and claimed that the district is sending viruses through e-mails, is facing a recall threat filed by former board president Mark Cassellius. Petitioners would need 1700 signatures.

Louisiana: Clarence Mayor facing recall threats after cancelling regular meeting

Mayor Tommy Evans is facing a recall threat after cancelling the regularly scheduled council meeting, one of several that he has cancelled.  There has also been issues with a sewer system and a reported city hall break-in. Evans has also had a problem with the now-defunct police department, and has paid $2300 to an ex-officer since termination. He has also been accused of preventing alderman from seeing information about village finances and ignoring votes.

Petitioners would need 144 signatures to move forward. One of the petitioners claims to have submitted 149 signatures but had it rejected because 11 names didn't qualify.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Texas: Alice Mayor, City Council recall dropped

An attempt to recall Mayor Joelen B. Vanover and Councilman Pete Crisp appears to have been abandoned by former councilman candidate Tony Sexton. He claimed that attending a recent council meeting was enough to see the council working together.

The recall effort against two other council members, Yolanda Moran and Elida Garza, is on the ballot for a November 7 vote.

North Dakota: Arnegard Councilman facing recall effort

Councilman Niel Nelson, a former Mayor and councilman who won office with 22 write-in votes in 2016, is facing a recall effort over claims of overstepping authority, harassing residents and some health concerns. Petitioners need 14 signatures.

California: Recount confirms Tulare Hospital recall result


Massachusetts: Three Selectmen Stoughton facing recall effort

Chairman David J. Sousa, Vice Chairman Robert Cohn and Selectman Peter Brown are all facing a recall effort over their push to remove the Town Manager, who was replaced by a 3-2 vote with an interim town manager when the sitting manager was on vacation. Selectman Michael Sullivan is pushing for the recall effort. Petitioners need about 900 signatures to get on the ballot.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Arizona: Former Huachuca City Mayor lauches recall against current mayor, three council members

Mayor Ken Taylor is facing a second recall effort, along with three council members (who's names will be added once I see an article with them). The leader of the effort is George Nerhan, a former mayor, and the issue is a complaint about divided government and dysfunction.

Taylor survived a recall in 2015.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

California: Assembly Speaker targeted by recall over opposition to single-payer healthcare

Single-payer healthcare advocates are targeting Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) after Rendon stopped a single-payer healthcare bill.

New Jersey: Editorial in favor of Wayne Councilman recall

An editorial in favor of removing Councilman Richard Jasterzbski over his cursing out a fellow Republican over signs in campaign headquarters.

California: Del Norte County Supervisor recall fails

A recall attempt against Supervisor Lori Cowan has been shelved because, according to the article, the committee could not find sufficient cause for a recall. The issue that petitioners claimed was raising garbage fees and requests for distant business trips.

Alaska: Homer Recall group fined $725 for filing forms 29 days late


California: Recall Rematch? Losing candidate in November election looks to run in recall against Democratic state Senator

Former Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R) has announced plans to run against Senator Josh Newman (D) if the recall gets on the ballot. Newman defeated Chang in November by less than 1% of the vote. There is a long history of "recall reruns" and you can see some of it here.

New Poll claims 59% would recall Trump; 44% all of Congress

Here -- though of course there is no recall on the federal level

California: Signatures handed in for Lake Forest City Council recall

Petitioners handed in 16307 signatures for the recall of Councilman Andrew Hamilton, they need at least 8834 to get on the ballot. An anti-recall campaign handed in 2268 withdrawal forms. This is the second time Hamilton is facing a recall petition -- he had one in 2015 that failed to get on the ballot. The issue seems to be about a contract with an animal shelter (and the kill rate at the shelter).

Friday, July 28, 2017

Idaho: Recall set for November 7 against Western Elmore Recreation District Directors

Petitioners handed in over 1700 valid signatures to get the recall against board president Art Nelson and Vice President Judy Mayne on the ballot. Petitioners need 1249. The two were proposing different uses for the park (one a dog park, the other a rodeo).

Nigeria: Plateau State Assembly member facing recall threat

House of Assembly member Godfrey K. Lamdip is facing a recall effort allegedly led by the APC-led government.

Nebraska: Bellevue City Council petitions rejected because affidavit handwritten, not typed

The recall campaign against Councilman Pat Shannon has been stopped because the petition was handwritten, not typed. Petitioners can resubmit. The issue was Shannon's carwash being voted to be torn down and him being tried (and found not guilty) of violating electrical license requirements.

Michigan: Petitions filed against five Addison Community School Board Trustees

Trustees Irving Dentel, Mike Karabestos, Mike Murphy, Jim Driskill and David Luke are all facing recalls over claims of open meeting act violations and failure to monitor the superintendent. The first petition attempt was rejected.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Colombia: Bogota Mayor facing recall effort

Mayor Penalosa is facing a recall effort, with 473,700 signatures (of 706,000) validated. The petitioners are claiming that he has failed to follow through his campaign promises. Penalosa has pushed for a mega infrastructure project.

Wisconsin: 2012 recall providing key evidence in gerrymandering case


Alaska: Borough attorney rejects petitions against Petersburg Assembly members

The Petersburg Borough Attorney has recommended against issuing recall petitions against Assembly members Jeigh Stanton Gregor, Nancy Strand, Kurt Wohlhueter and Eric Castro over a closed door session following the retirement of the electrical superintendent.

New Mexico: Petitioners ask permission to move forward on Roosevelt County Sheriff recall

Sheriff Malin Parker is the target of a recall over allegations that he retaliates against individuals who oppose his policies. Petitioners need 1288 signatures (and a judge's sign-off) to move forward.

Florida: Hillborough Commissioner facing recall threats over her flipped vote to remove a Confederate monument

Commissioner Sandy Murman (R) is facing recall threats after initially voting to reject a motion to removal a Confederate monument and then changing her vote in July.  Petitioners would need at least 11000 signatures to get on the ballot.

Kansas: Great Bend Council members facing inquiries into recall law

There has been questions about recalling Council members Joel Jackson and Vicki Berryman.

Oregon: Hubbard Mayor and Councilor facing petitions

Mayor Thia Estes and Councilor Bradley Williams are facing petitions filed by the son of a former police chief over the city's contracting for police services with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Petitioner needs 111 signatures to get on the ballot.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

North Carolina: Pinehurst residents ask for recall law

Doesn't seem like it will be adopted -- though 21 local recall bills have been passed in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Michigan: Leader of Algonac recall effort denied reappointment to planning commission

Amanda Gougeon was a leader of the recall effort against Algonac Councilmembers Irene Bird. She has since been rejected for reappointment to the planning commission. Petitioners have submitted 396 and 398 signatures -- they need 331 (which is still be reviewed). The issue is a meeting regarding a Bible Church and proposed Dream Center and the removal of the City Manager.

Texas: Bowie Mayor and Council facing recall threats

Bowie Mayor Scott Davis and Councilors Chuck Malone, Wayne Bell, Terry Gunter, Douglas Boyd and Jim Graham are facing a recall threat (one of the councilors was appointed on June 20 and is not eligible). Petitioners need 628 signatures, though there was a discussion of the amount needed for a referendum election (which is 381 signatures). The issue is an increase in utility rates and a demand for a reduction in the electricity rate.

Rhode Island: Providence Councilman looking to collect pension after recall


Michigan: Flint mayoral petition makes the ballot

Mayor Karen Weaver is facing a recall vote in November. Petitioners needed 5750 signatures and had 5951 verified.

Weaver is claiming that some of the signatures were obtained through misleading the signers. There is currently an investigation into those charges.

California: Petitioning started against two Redding Councilmembers

Councilmembers Kristen Schreder and Francie Sullivan are facing recalls over their vote to give raises to certain city employees. Petitioners need over 9800 signatures to get on the ballot.

Oregon: Jefferson Mayor and City Council facing recall effort

New Mayor Cyndie Hightower and new councilors Bob Burns, Brad Cheney and Stan Neal are facing recall efforts over claims that they are not acting ethically or fiscally responsible. The significant issue seems to be the new officials push for a public vote over annexation of 60 homes into the city. Burns has already resigned, though it sounds like that is simply because he sold his house and is moving.

Petitioners would need 135 signatures.

New Jersey: Petitions ready for Wayne Councilman recall

The signature effort against Councilman Richard Jasterbzski is set to begin over his cursing out a local Republican state committee candidate regarding the removal of signs in the Passaic County Regular Republican Organization's headquarters. Petitioners need 1317 signatures to get on the ballot.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Missouri: Jefferson County Executive who face recall effort not seeking third term

County Executive Ken Waller, who sued the county for a pay hike and sued the city council in a power dispute, has decided to not run for reelection. Petitioners would need 21,000 signatures to get the recall on the ballot -- no word if that is continuing.

North Dakota: LaMoure County State's Attorney recall falls short

The recall attempt against State's Attorney Tonya Duffy was rejected due to incomplete addresses on petitions. Petitioners collected 613 signatures and turned them in on June 20. Petitioners needed 541. Five petitioners of 170 signatures were rejected because the circulator's residential address was incomplete on the last page. Petitioners claimed a lack of competency and that she didn't treat constituents fairly.

Montana: Petitions filed against Pondera County Sheriff

Sheriff Carl Suta is facing petitions over claims of abuse of power among many other things. Petitioners need 530 signatures in 90 days.

Michigan: Spring Lake Village President petition approved

Village President Joyce Hatton recall language was approved after she compared a parking ordinance to the Holocaust and has pushed for disincorporation. Petitioners need 282 signatures by August 3.

Nebraska: Bellevue Council recall

Councilman Pat Shannon's recall effort is set for a hearing on July 27. 

California: Recall effort started against Solano County Family Court Judge

A recall effort has started against Judge Christine Carringer over complaints about her custody arrangements. Petitioners need 23,972 signatures to get on the ballot.

Colorado: Broomfield Councilman survives recall vote

Mayor Pro Tem and Councilman Greg Stokes easily survived the recall vote against him over his opposition to a five year ban on fracking. The vote was 1583-2874.

Ohio: Signatures handed in against Loveland Mayor

Over 2000 signatures have been handed in against Mayor Mark Fitzgerald (petitioners need 15% of turnout -- the number is not clear from the article. The issue seems to be a lawsuit against Fitzgerald when he was the administrator for North College Hill claiming he misused city funds, and as part of his settlement, he could not work for the city again.

The article notes the rarity of recalls in Ohio that Lincoln Heights Mayor LaVerne Mitchell was removed in a recall in 2005.

California: Lawsuit challenges state recall revision rules

The backers of a recall effort against Senator Josh Newman, who submitted about 85,000 signatures for a recall effort, have sued to challenge the law that extends the amount of time between a petition and an election as well as gives voters the chance to remove their signatures from the petition. The suit focuses on provision that calls for the state's Department of Finance to give a review of the cost of the recall election, which has no timetable to when the review needs to be finished.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Texas: Alice City Council still trying to set date for recall


Oregon: New attempt to remove Governor Kate Brown

Petitions have been filed to try and get a recall against Governor Kate Brown over claims of "overreach" on taxes, the voter referral process, the state's foster care system and the death during the Malheur National Wildlife Refugee in 2016.

The same petitioner, Arin Marcus, tried to recall Governor John Kitzhaber in 2015 because Kitzhaber did not intervene in custody case where Marcus was removed by the DHS and adopted.

Petitioners need 291,907 signatures to get on the ballot.

Michigan: Recall attempt launched against Spring Lake Village President

Village President Joyce Hatton, who was criticized for lateness and consulting with the auditor without council permission, where she seemed to have the other six council members object to her idea that there would be a significant amount of money left over if the village is dissolved. Hatton, who won office in November, pushed for dissolving the village in order to save on property taxes.

California: Tulare Regional Medical Center Board Director kicked out

Board Director Dr. Parmod Kumar was removed 707-168, and he is being replaced by Senovia Gutierrez, who won the replacement vote over Jesse Salcido 569-173. Almost all the votes were mail-in (703 mail-in ballots, 176 votes showed up on Tuesday).

The recall was over a $85 million in bonds for a new building and a vote to divest the powers of the board to Health Care Conglomerate Associates.

Monday, July 10, 2017

California: More news on State Senate recall effort

Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R) has thrown his hat into the ring; Three Republican petition-gatherers are being sued by the California Democratic Party over allegations that they claimed the petition was to remove the gas tax.

Michigan: Signatures handed in against Flint Mayor

Petitioners handed in nearly 8900 signatures to recall Mayor Karen Weaver. About 8200 were allowed to move forward and the clerk has until July 24 to check them. Petitioners need under 5800 signatures to get on the ballot. The recall would take place on Election Day if the signatures are enough.

California: Two Newhall County Water District members recall failed

The attempt to recall President Maria Gutzeit and director Dan Mortensen over a proposed water merger with Castaic Lake Water Agency has failed. Petitioners needed 5713 signatures, but didn't turn any in.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Mayor and Democratic candidate against Scott Walker in 2012 facing recall efforts

Four-term Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who ran as the Democratic candidate in the 2012 Scott Walker recall election, is facing a petition partly led by one of the leaders of a group called the "Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee." The petition complains about crime, lead exposure in water pipes and the Milwaukee Streetcar project. Petitioners would need over 51,000 signatures in 60 days.

Texas: Two Forney Councilmembers targeted over water sales/financial stability issues

Councilmembers Mary Penn and Robbie Powers are both facing threats over complaints about the city's finances over the loss of its wholesale water sales. Two other councilmembers have not served long enough to be recalled. Petitioners need at least 20% of registered voters or two hundred signatures, whichever is greater.

Nebraska: Bellevue Councilman facing recall following acquittal

Councilman Pat Shannon, who was acquitted of violating electrical license requirements for a building he owns; pushed by the council to come up with a fix to his car wash and has an unpaid $16,000 fine for campaign finance law violations, is facing a recall effort. Petitioners need close to 6600 signatures in 30 days.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Colorado Three Custer County Commissioners facing petitions

A recall effort against Commissioner Bob Kattnig failed last year, but there are now petitions out against Commissioners Kattnig, Donna Hood and Jay Printz (all are Republicans). The petitions claim a violation of the oath of office by holding closed door, executive sessions and secret meetings. Petitioners need 470 signatures for Kattnig, 582 for Printz and 735 for Hood.

California: Democrats looking to change contribution limit law to help State Senator

Democrats are pushing the California Fair Political Practice Commission to allow state legislators to giver more than $4,400 to fight the recall. This is a part of the Senator Josh Newman recall effort.

Massachusetts: Southampton Select Board member quits after recall effort

Board member Shannon Cutler quit the board after a recall effort over her attendance record (she missed half the meetings) as well as moved out of town. The petition against Cutler was signed by Board Chairman Charlie Kaniecki and Selectman James LaBrie.

Nigeria: House of Representatives member now facing recall effort

A second recall attempt is going on in Nigeria, with House of Representatives member Bamidele Baderinwa facing the challenge.

Washington: Judge oks Black Diamond Councilwoman recall

A Judge ruled that a recall could proceed against Councilwoman Pat Pepper for Open Meeting Act violations. Petitioners have started gathering signatures. They need 370 signatures in 180 days.

Oregon: Roseburg Councilor hit with petitions

Petitions have been taken out against Councilor Ashley Hicks over her numerous run-ins with the homeless communities, including encounters she posted on Facebook. She also is pushing for the removal of a metal biohazard box from Micelli Park. Petitioners need 288 signatures to get on the ballot.

Nebraska: Two Sutherland Board Trustees members facing recall threats

Chairman John Lutz and Trustee Ray Ravenscroft are both hearing recall threats over claims that Lutz financially benefited from his position and disregard laws and Ravenscroft from a claim of a hostile work environment. Petitioners almost 200 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.

Southwest flight attendants looking to oust union president

Transport Workers Union Local 556 President Audrey Stone is facing recall attempts over contract negotiations.

New Jersey: Phillipsburg Mayor facing recall effort

Mayor Stephen Ellis (D) is facing a recall effort over vague claims of incompetence and misuse of office. Ellis is claiming the recall is a stunt timed to the election of three council seats. Ellis won in 2015, beating a Republican incumbent looking for a fifth term.

One of the lead petitioners, Blaine Fehley, accused the mayor of assault for yelling at him over "crudely manipulated photos."

Petitioners need 2054 signatures in 160 days (25% of registered voters).

Ballotpedia mid-year Recall report

Ballotpedia has provided a great mid-year report -- 134 recalls initiated against 178 officials in 31 states. By their count, 31 recalls have occurred this year, 19 removed, 12 survived and another 10 resigned.

We're hoping to have a joint effort by the end of the year for the full list.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

California: Santa Clara Judge responds to recall effort

Here and here's Mother Jones with some discussion of the "unintended consequences" of recalling judges.

California: Proposed Redding City Council recall estimated to cost hundreds of thousands for city

The proposed recall of Vice Mayor Kristen Schreder and Councilwoman Francie Sullivan is estimated to cost quite a bit, with the County Clerk citing a $268,000 cost for a 2013 State Senate race as a baseline.

California: Stockton Mayor, two city council members facing recall effort

Mayor Michael Tubbs and Councilmen Dan Wright and Jesus Andrade, all in their first terms, are facing recall efforts. All three beat incumbents in the election and one of the backers of the recall has lost badly in previous attempts to run as mayor and for the city council.

The recall backers claim that they are focusing on the city council members because both finished second in district voting in the primaries in June, but won office in the citywide voting in November. The city voters switched to district based voting in November, which will start for the council in 2018. However, they state reasons such as supporting the privitization of civil services, failure to support small business and the true catch-all "no measurable impact on Council." They are currently doing polling on the Tubbs recall effort.

Petitioners would need 27,000 or so signatures to get the mayor on the ballot. It sounds like any replacement would be appointed.

Stockton has had two recalls in the past. One was against Mayor Jimmie Rishwain in 1967 The other, against Councilman Mark Stebbins is one of those really weird recalls.

Michigan: Signatures submitted against two Algonac City Council members; Yale mayor recall fails

Signatures were handed in against Algonac City Council members Irene Bird and Joe Nugent, with 430 handed in, 300 are needed. The recall is over a meeting they attended about the former elementary school building and discussions about firing the city manager before he resigned. There is also talk about a recall effort against Mayor Eileen Tesch.

Yale Mayor Richard Busch is being dropped -- it was over the suspension of the former police chief for not wearing a bullet proof vest.

New Mexico: Second effort to recall Las Vegas Mayor fails

A second attempt against Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron has failed to submit signatures. They needed 920, they claim they got 850.

North Dakota: Courtenay Recall will be first test of new Voter ID law

The 45 person town of Courtenay is holding a recall in October -- so far, no details about the actual vote or what's it about (can't even find a newspaper for the area). It will be the first test of the state's new Voter ID law.

Texas: Alice City Council recall tabled by city council

The city council has tabled the setting of a recall against City Council members Yolanda Sosa Moran and Elida Garza over when the recall can be set. It seems like the two councilors are the ones pushing the delay. The state is saying they need to schedule the vote on November 7 (Election Day) unless there is an "emergency" like a lack of quorum, in which the governor needs to set a special election day.

Nigeria: Timetable released for Kenyan Senator recall

The recall of Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) has a timetable to start on July 10 and end on August 19. Melaye is still fighting the effort with a lawsuit.

Colorado: Frederick recall set for September 5

The recall against Mayor Tony Carey and Trustees Donna Hudziak, Fred Skates is over the support for a four story apartment building and a drive-in restaurant.

Two other officials, trustees Salvatore "Sam" DeSantis and Rocky Figurili, are facing a recall from the other side over their votes against the developments.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Georgia: Recall against Gwinnett County Commissioner uncertain

The Democratic Party Chair suggests that the party is leaning to not recall Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who called U.S. Representative John Lewis a 'racist pig.' The issue is that the Democrats feel it won't meet the cause requirement.

North Dakota: Kindred City Council recall set for September 19

The recall of City Council woman Julie Johnson has been set for September 19. Petitioners gathered about 124 signatures, they needed less than 40. The issue was a claim of aggressive and disrespectful dealings with staff, leading to the resignation of the city auditor and the mayor, Jeff Wanner, who is Johnson's father. Both of them returned to the job (though Morrison later left for a private sector job).

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.