The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Jun 7, 2007

While We Weren't Watching: Councilor Protection Act

While everyone was looking the other way Monday night - watching tax cuts and jail funding, the council acted to reduce its exposure to recall. Last year The Mayer (AKA Sally Mayer) faced a recall. This year disgruntled District 9 residents have put together a recall for their councilor, Don Harris.

The resolution (R-07-243) would make recall possible only in the case of "malfeasance or misfeasance" as determined by the city clerk, would up the up the required qualifying signatures to 33.33% of the total number of voters in the last regular election, and make a recall impossible in the last 6 months of a councilor's term. Currently, a recall election can be triggered by the signatures of 25% of the number of votes cast in the last election, can be triggered at anytime, and councilors can be recalled for any reason.

If you take a look at this legislation, it is specifically designed to prevent the type of recall that Councilor Harris is subject to. The current language makes him somewhat more vulnerable than the average councilor due to his runoff with Tina Cummins. In Councilor Harris' case a recall election requires only 922 qualified signatures because there were only 3,689 total votes cast in the runoff election, which was the election in which Harris won his seat.

If the signature requirement is changed from 25% of the total votes in the last "election of the officer whose recall is proposed" to "thirty-three and one third percent of the number of persons who voted in the last regular municipal election [emphasis added] for the position the official was elected," the signature requirement jumps to 2,806 signatures.

R-07-243 was the last item acted upon by the council last Monday night. A review of its legislative history reveals that the bill was introduced on Monday, quickly amended twice and passed by a vote of 8 to 1 with Councilors O'Malley, Mayer, Sanchez, Benton, Cadigan, Heinrich, Loy and Harris voting for, and (not surprisingly) Councilor Winter voting against.

The Eyes have it that these changes are actually the brainchild of none other than one Don Harris, who upon learning of his imminent recall effort wrote this charter amendment after learning that a simple ordinance change would not be enough to protect him. He has been shopping this amendment for some time and finally found a stooge... uh, sponsor with nothing to lose (Councilor Craig Loy - Who is not running for re-election).

It's important to note that there has NEVER been a successful recall of a city councilor, which means the current system provides adequate protection for councilors who will face opposition from one group or the other during their tenure. Councilors need to have enough protection to allow them to make judgments that are bound to be controversial. They should not be guaranteed a seat without fear of consequences.

In our opinion even voting for legislation like this is reason enough to recall a city councilor. In fact, two of the bill's supporters (The Mayer and Cadigan) have faced recall. Councilor Harris' involvement in writing this amendment has given his opposition yet another reason to throw him out.

Councilors serve at the pleasure of their respective constituents. They work for them, not the other way around. It's ironic that they are asking for a raise at the very time they are asking us to make sure that we cannot have them removed for displeasing us. Shame on the council for ramming this through in literally, the dead of night; and shame on us if we let them get away with it.

9 comments:

Ched MacQuigg said...

Would it be unreasonable to ask councilors to make a few changes, upon which their raise depends;
like transparent accountability for city administrators?

Anonymous said...

I think we need to recall them all (except Winter). They need to remember that they serve at our pleasure and their arrogance and attempt to create some kind of immunity for themselves needs to be punished.

Anonymous said...

Great post! For more information on the effort to recall Don Harris, please visit RecallHarris.org

Anonymous said...

People in District 9 need to be angry enough about this to get out there and sign the petition (2,806 worth). Shove it back down the coucillors throats.

Anonymous said...

If you live in District 9, and would like to sign the Recall Harris Petition, please send an email to info@recallharris.org and we will set up a time to bring the petition to your house. Councilor Harris must go!!!

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising that District 8's Councilor Craig Loy would be a willing dupe for Councilor Harris when agreeing to put his name on the bill written by Harris asking the voters to now require malfeasance or misfeasance as the only grounds for removing a Councilor from office. When asked, Loy didn't even know the difference between malfeasance and misfeasance. On the same night, councilors then passed a bill sponsored by Councilor Sanchez that will ask voters to give them a 300% pay increase. Incredible arrogance-don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Proof that power corrupts! #!@%$&$

Checks&Balances said...

The counselors are asked by constituents to return every call, to
respond to every email and to be at every neighborhood association
meeting. Each counselor represents over 30,000 people and there are
hundreds of neighborhood association and home owner association. THEY
ARE PAID $10,000 a year. Would you work a full time job for $4.80 an
hour? They do not work for the people they volunteer for the people.
You do not want them to receive a raise because it will cost the city
too much money yet you believe a recall is justified for any reason? A
recall costs the city $500,000 and there have been two in the last few
years. Why, because a group disagreed with policy. $1,000,000, the
cost to the city and by the way the mayor’s salary, those dollars could
have covered the raise for 5.5 years and a raise would allow them to
give more time to constituents. No raise but spend many times as much
on recall elections.

A recall should only be used to oust a person engaged in misconduct,
otherwise our city will be wasting money as this valuable but now
abused tool, the recall, is used to threaten every decision. Think
people. They are not corrupt but they cannot please everyone and nor
should they be expected to do so. If you disagree with decisions then
run against the counselor in the next election but do not corrupt the
office.

WAKE UP. If we allow a recall to occur we may as well get rid of the
council and allow the Mayor to dictate. He will appoint the counselor
if a recall is successful, do you want checks on his power or do you
want Alb to be his little fiefdom?

Anonymous said...

To Checks and Balances

Don't know where you get your info about a recall costing $500,000. If this recall is allowed to go to the voters it will be put on the next general election this fall. It will only cost the taxpayers who are gathering signatures their time.