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.
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