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City council recall, Coeur D'Alene, Idaho (2012)

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An effort to recall Sandi Bloem, Mike Kennedy, Woody McEvers and Deanna Goodlander from their positions on the Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, city government was launched in April 2012.[1] The recall effort fell short in June 2012 when recall organizers failed to submit sufficient signatures to force a recall election.[2] Bloem serves as mayor, while Kennedy, McEvers, and Goodlander are all members of the city council.

Reasons for recall

A group called RecallCDA was behind the recall effort. The reasons for recall listed on the petitions included denial of a public advisory vote on the McEuen Field conceptual plan, approval of excessive salaries for city employees, and support of excessive spending of taxpayer dollars.[1] Prior to the launch of the recall effort, the city council had approved a $14 million renovation plan for McEuen Park.[3]

Frank Orzell was one of the organizers behind the recall effort. He said, "there’s an inordinate focus on downtown business interests...There’s a feeling that downtown is getting more than its share of attention." Orzell also said, "we want to replace the City Council because of their arrogance and the non-involvement of the Coeur d’Alene voters in terms of what goes on with their city and how the money is spent."[4]

Recall opposition

A group called Stop the Recall mobilized in response to the recall effort. [1] (timed out) The group spearheaded a "Decline to Sign" campaign, distributing lawn signs and sending 13,000 letters to local residents urging them to support the targeted council members.[4] On May 31, members of Stop the Recall filed a complaint with the city, alleging that RecallCDA is making false claims, leading to "overwhelming and persistent misinformation being spread by organizers and volunteers in the effort to gather signatures for the petitions."[5] The Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office investigated the complaint.[6]

The Coeur d'Alene Firefights IAFF Local 710 stated its opposition to the recall effort, writing in a statement, "we will not sit idly by while the reputations of four of the most dedicated city officials to have ever served any community are tarnished, and their terms threatened to be cut short.”[7]

The Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce, North Idaho Building Contractors Association, and Coeur d'Alene Tribe all opposed the recall effort.[8]

Path to the ballot

The recall petitions were certified on April 5th. Recall organizers had 75 days to collect 4,311 signatures. The deadline for submission was originally June 19th,[1] but it was moved to June 11th. The deadline change was due to conflicting opinions on whether the 75-day signature collection window should include the 15 business days needed to certify signatures, or if the 15 days should be added onto the 75 days. The Idaho Secretary of State's office originally said the 15 days for certification should be added to the 75 days for collection, but the office later reversed its opinion, saying the 75 days would include both the signature gathering and verification phases.[9]

On May 15, recall organizers said that they had collected 3,700 signatures. On the prospect of the recall making it to the ballot, recall target Woody McEvers said, "it will be what it will be. If they get it, they get it. What are you going to do? It's not like we can run a campaign against it...We can't say anything back, because then we're rude."[10]

On June 11, recall organizers submitted 5,300 signatures. The Kootenai County elections department had until 5pm on June 19 to verify the signatures. If at least 4,311 signatures had been validated, a recall election would have been scheduled.[11] However, on June 18, election officials announced that insufficient signatures had been collected. 4,073 signatures were certified on Goodlander's petition, 4,077 on Kennedy's, 4,060 on McEvers' and 4,126 on Bloem's.[12]

See also

References