Monday, May 11, 2009

Council debates, researches recall election date

The answer to the trivia question is 3,774.

That's how many signatures were validated in order for the recall of Mayor Don Plusquellic to reach the ballot.

The group hoping to recall DP has been pounding its chests with numbers closer to 7,000, as though that many people wanted to see an immediate change in leadership, but it's the valid number that officially counts. 3,774 is about 600 more than was required.

City Council will certify the petitions tonight and will officially start the clock for a special election to be held sometime between June 20th and July 4th.

Some of the comments I'm already receiving:

"...to get out and vote on JUST that issue. All this is going to do is burrow DP deeper in his bunker and make it that much more difficult to effect change. DP and I have been friends for over 30 years. BUT ... if it's time for a change, then present lOGICAL, CAPABLE, SUITABLE challenges to his office.The late great John S. Knight once said ... 'I don't care who runs Akron - but someone had better. It's too important to be left without leadership.'"


Others have weighed in that they believe the recall will be successful and that they firmly believe it's time for a change while many believe it's a waste of time and money and are upset that it's gotten this far.

I still haven't seen one point that validates the need for a recall; saying that you don't like DP or didn't agree with some of his decisions seem to fly in the face of the need for a recall. Shouldn't recalls be saved for elected officials who commit crimes (Blagojevich) or get caught in major ethical jackpots (Marc Dann)?

Council's task now is to determine what kind of election it hopes to have. Do you schedule it on a traditional Tuesday when there might be a traditional turnout (whatever that is for a late June election)? Or do you schedule it on an odd day of the week .. say Sunday or Monday .. in hopes of having a smaller turnout? Don't roll your eyes .. more than one insider at city hall tells me that's possible.

And if it's scheduled closer to the fourth of July, what burden does that place on the Board of Elections to have volunteers for the polls as well as staff members at the BOE who might have vacations scheduled for that week? Will there be early voting like we saw in the fall?

Will the ballot read "Should Mayor Don Plusquellic be recalled?" in which case a "yes" vote would remove him from city hall?

Or will the ballot read "Should Mayor Don Plusquellic stay in office?" in which case a "yes" vote would defeat the recall?

A lot still be to be decided ..

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great article, Eric. I agree: the recall effort has not named any impeachable offense of which Plusquellic is guilty.

Anonymous said...

Since you brought up eithics, Warner, have you paid those taxes yet?

Akron Watch said...

Pounding our chest WITH 7,000 signatures, yes all volunteers on this recall campaign should. Although you Eric only CHOOSE to recognize the signatures that were validated by the board, you should CHOOSE to recognize all those that were filed in a legal manner with the city.

wayne-in-akron said...

====================
Anonymous said...

Great article, Eric. I agree: the recall effort has not named any impeachable offense of which Plusquellic is guilty.
====================

Plusquellic isn't being "impeached", he is being "recalled".

There is a difference.

The Akron City Charter outlines (the voter changeable) the guidelines necessary for there to be a recall. CAN and the 3,774 registered Akron voters who have had their petition signatures validated have played by the rules that are in effect, and have now put this simple proposition on a ballot that may be voted on by EVERY registered Akron voter.

If Plusquellic is able to find a simple majority of voters who are willing to say "keep him", he'll stay.

If a simple majority of voters cast ballots that say "he should go", then he will.

Isn't that what a Democracy is all about?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Wayne-in-Akron, that is what dmocracy is all about. And we had our chance to make democracy work for all of us less than two years ago at the most recent mayoral election.

To force a silly and expensive recall election now is pretty transparent as few of the grievances against our mayor have really come to head since that election. This is plain and simple a political move aimed at the potential gains in next regular mayoral election.

Eric Mansfield said...

Well .. that language is certainly up for debate. Charter or not.

Seems odd to vote "for" a negative (removing someone from office) or selecting "against" when you want things to stay the same (keeping someone in office).

And the 7,000. That's the law. If all 7,000 were registered Akron voters and had signed petitions that were validated, then 7,000 would be the count. It's not. It's 3,774. You can't say "hey we're just following the law" when it comes to why you're asking for a recall, and then say "yeah, but others signed it too" when that same law says those signatures don't count.

The point is moot now .. the issue is on the ballot and we'll see where the recall goes from here.

And yes Warner a recall can follow criminal allegations .. just as we saw with Ernie Tarle.

And you're making allegations of improper campaign spending when you admit you DON'T have the receipts? That's ridiculous. That's why I pulled your remarks.

miss tia said...

i am sure council will make the ballot langauge as confusing as possible....

miss tia

Warner said...

It is improper not to provide the receipts in the first place. What is he hiding.

wayne-in-akron said...

I notice that an earlier reply, from another poster, has been deleted. It included the full text from the Akron City Charter that specified the wording that must appear on the recall ballot.

I will post it below. Hopefully the comment will be allowed to remain.

==========================

Akron City Charter

REMOVAL OF ELECTIVE OFFICERS BY RECALL

SECTION 13. PROCEDURE

7. Each ballot at such election shall have printed thereon the following question: "Shall (name of person) be removed from the office of (name of office) by recall?" Immediately following such question, there shall be printed on the ballot the following two propositions in following order:

"For the recall of (name of person)."

"Against the recall of (name of person)."

Immediately to the left of each of said propositions shall be a space in which the elector may vote for either of such propositions.
==========================

Here is the link, for those who choose to read it for yourselves.

http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/codes/akron/_DATA/CHARTER/REMOVAL_OF_ELECTIVE_OFFICERS_B.html#1

Simon Johnson said...

So Warner Mendenhall, Larry Parker
and Dennis McEaneney have a vendetta against Mayor Plusquellic. That's all well and good guys, but wage your petty battles on your own dime, not mine or that of the people of Akron!

Let's say the recall fails. You guys should get the bill for the total cost of this nonsense.

wayne-in-akron said...

=================
Simon Johnson said...

So Warner Mendenhall, Larry Parker
and Dennis McEaneney have a vendetta against Mayor Plusquellic. That's all well and good guys, but wage your petty battles on your own dime, not mine or that of the people of Akron!

Let's say the recall fails. You guys should get the bill for the total cost of this nonsense.
=================

Did Donald Plusquellic pay out of his own pocket for his failed "Special Election" 3 years ago that would have imposed a higher Akron Income Tax to create an economic development fund?

Of course not!

Well, turnabout is fair play.

If you don't like it, take out your own petition to make a City Charter change.

Anonymous said...

Eric. Right or wrong I do see what you are saying however The Constitution does guarantee the right of a redress of grievances by petition to the government and there were 3774 people who did sign their names to this petition and believe it to be so. We shall see soon which way the axe falls and let us all hope that what ever happens Akron ends up in better shape in the days to come.
What gets me is that this is called a waste of time and money but levy after levy that fails and then reintroduced on the ballot is never looked at that way.
Our city is going to have some interesting history ahead. Let us hope they be the best of times.

Ed Esposito said...

Anonymous 10p makes an excellent point: all the flap over whether a recall is waste of time or not is irrelevant. The Charter has a provision just as the Constitution guarantees right to petition. It isn't allowed...it's a right. The issue from the start was whether those who supported a recall would be able to gather enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot according to the democratic provisions contained in the charter.

We should argue whether Akron voters should cast yes recall or no recall, but we are wasting time on whether there should be a special election. Anytime a group of citizens follow the rules should be celebrated as the truest expression of democracy.

After all -- the voters are still the ultimate authority, as we'll find out in the next 40 to 60 days.

Eric Mansfield said...

Hey .. enough voters wanted it, so the law says we're going to have it .. and I agree, that's where the debate needs to focus now.

Again .. to clarify .. the Mayor did NOT have a special election for the economic stimulus levy that failed two years ago. That issue was placed on the ballot during a regularly-scheduled election cycle. So no, the city did got a big bill for that .. unlike what is ahead for the recall election.

And by the way .. NO community can up and have a special election on an issue. The law is clear about the specific circumstances of a special election.

Also .. I deleted Warner's comments because it included attacks that he admitted he did not have the documents to approve. I deleted others for the same reason and will continue to do so when they cross the line. I did not, however, delete a comment that included the charter language. Still, thanks for posting .. it gives us all an education.

By the way, since we're all saying that opinions don't matter and the law is the law ... the Akron police officer was clearly out of line to delete those photos from the man's phone downtown. The law says he has a right to take pictures from a public sidewalk. It's not up to any officer to inforce morals or ethics.

I do however like that callers to talk radio immediately assume that all local television broadcasts would have run that video without debate. I would strongly doubt that our station would have chosen to air video of a local 5-year-old in screaming pain.

Eric Mansfield said...

oh .. and another thing. The count IS 3,774. Period. Not that it mattes at this point anyway.

Still, to argue that "nearly 7,000 people signed petitions to recall the mayor" is like saying the Cavs should get credit for 250 points in their last game because in addition to the 84 they scored against Atlanta, they also scored 166 in practice that day. See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

The rights of the people should be exercised. But where do you draw the line on abusing your rights. This recall is still personal, costly and baseless!

Ed Esposito said...

And at this point in the string let me say how much I'm looking forward to NewsNight Akron tomorrow...

wayne-in-akron said...

================
Eric Mansfield posted:

Again .. to clarify .. the Mayor did NOT have a special election for the economic stimulus levy that failed two years ago.

That issue was placed on the ballot during a regularly-scheduled election cycle.

So no, the city did got a big bill for that .. unlike what is ahead for the recall election.
================

With all due respect, NONE of Akron's 153 polls (with at least 4 poll workers each) would have been open on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 if it were not for Akron Issue 17 (Plusquellic's Income Tax for Economic Development).

That was the one and only item on the ballot for Akron voters on that date.

The payroll for the day's Akron poll workers exceeds $73,000 plus the additional BOE payroll for the setup and teardown of each poll's equipment plus the rent paid for the 153 polling sites plus the ballot printing costs plus any other items I may not have thought of off of the top of my head.

The Summit County BOE would have had its "ballot counting staff" working on that day as there were contested primary races for the Lakemore and Twinsburg Mayor; Coventry, Richfield, and Twinsburg township issues; multiple City of Twinsburg issues; a Reminderville income tax; and 10 school levies (none of which involved the Akron Public Schools) on that date.

Feel free to review the Summit County BOE election results for May 8, 2007 which lists all of the items on Summit County ballots on that date at http://www.summitcountyboe.com/ElectionResults/Results/elec0507.HTM

wayne-in-akron said...

There was a recent "major media outlet" article concerning the low percentage of Military ballots that were counted in the most recent Presidential election cycle.

I wonder if Akron's City Council will take this into consideration and will schedule the upcoming recall election on a date at the far end of the 40-60 day window to give our deployed servicemen and servicewomen a fighting chance to have their absentee ballots move both ways through the postal service in a timely manner that will allow their votes to count?

Eric Mansfield said...

Wayne,
I applaud how hard you're trying to compare the two elections .. but it just doesn't hold water.
One issue came on a scheduled election day.
The other was purposely put in motion to open the polls on an unplanned day knowing of the additional cost.
Still .. even if I give your argument about Plusquellic's election credit .. why wouldn't Warner's petition patrol have filed later in the year so the recall election could have been held alongside other Akron issues .. and not to stick Akron with a bill like this again? Why didn't the group did what it claims Plusquellic didn't?
I'd have more respect for the group if you'd just say "we don't care about the expense, we just want Don recalled" .. rather than always deflecting the issue with "well, Don did it in 2007 so it's ok for us to do it now .."
Just doesn't hold up ..

wayne-in-akron said...

===================
Eric Mansfield posted:

Why wouldn't Warner's petition patrol have filed later in the year so the recall election could have been held alongside other Akron issues .. and not to stick
Akron with a bill like this again?

Why didn't the group did what it claims Plusquellic didn't?
===================

First, let me be clear that I am not a member of CAN, nor did I sign the petition.

With that out of the way, I think you are giving CAN either too much or too little credit when it comes to election scheduling and minimization of election costs.

The Akron City Charter sets out the guidelines for the calendar related to a recall process.

No matter how you look at it, a successful petition and approval of the recall by voters would generate a grand total of 3 elections.

Those are the recall, replacement Mayoral primary, and replacement Mayoral general election.

Based on the Akron Charter's guidelines and the BOE's calendar, it does not appear that there is any combination of 3 scheduled election dates that could have been coordinated in a way that would have eliminated at least one special election date.

By Charter language, the clock for the recall election began when Bob Keith presented the validated petition to the Council on Monday, May 11.

That puts the recall election somewhere between June 19 (40 days) and July 9 (60 days).

If the recall is approved, the Charter calls for a period of "at least twenty-five (25) days prior to such primary election".

The currently scheduled Akron primaries for Council-At-Large and Ward Council of September 8 falls more than 25 days after the final date for the recall election.

Akron City Council is charged (by the Charter) with the responsibility to schedule the Mayoral primary if voters approve the recall.

If Akron City Council cares about keeping expenses to a minimum, the Mayoral primary and general elections could be scheduled in conjunction with the upcoming September 8 and November 3 Akron municipal elections.