Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Newsweek article on the Scott Walker recall rocket

Here's my article on how the recall resulted in Scott Walker's meteoric rise to the top of the charts. A couple of key points in the piece:

1) As readers of this blog know, recalls frequently result in a big boost to the target, especially if they survive. I was talking about this during the 2012 VP selection chatter, and thought Walker could be a top candidate for the job. Obviously, he wasn't chosen, but the logic still holds.

2) Midwest Governors are always talked about as presidential candidates, but they rarely get there -- Stevenson's the last to get a nomination, and the Idol of Ohio, the originator of McKinelynomics , William McKinley was the last to win.

3) Here's what I think is the crux of this piece -- the sheer volume of mentions in the WSJ/NYT of Walker compared to other governors of much larger and more economically important states (see that below). I would have really loved to figure out a search on Fox News for this (as I think they would have had a larger impact on the target audience than any other news source), but I have no idea how to perform that search on a free engine. Similar problems prevented me from expanding this to the LA Times and the Washington Post. The February 5 date was a technological limitation -- I would have liked to go back to January 1, 2011, but the WSJ has a four-year time limit.

WSJ/NYT and undoubtedly other papers, wire services, radio and TV stations covered that recall extensively. There are other governors from that area who got significant press (Mitch Daniels most notably), but he was a part of the Great Mentioning, so his press was very different.

Now the results of all of this coverage doesn't mean that Walker was super-well known -- relatively recent polls have shown that the majority of Republicans did not have an opinion about him. But I think his name was out there and in (for Republican primary voters) an extremely positive connotation. This is why Walker is pushing forward.

Therefore, the campaign received massive news coverage–far eclipsing what other governors would get for anything other than a scandal or a serious presidential campaign. A quick search of The New York Times (NYT) and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) shows this. From February 5, 2011 to December 31, 2012, Scott Walker was mentioned in 422 New York Times and 667 Wall Street Journal stories.
Compare that to some of his fellow GOP governors who were elected at the exact same time from much larger states with far greater economic impact on the country. Ohio’s John Kasich received mentions in 64 NYT and 167 WSJ pieces. Michigan’s Rick Snyder saw his name in 105 NYT and 196 WSJ stories. Florida’s Rick Scott was mentioned 214 times by the NYT and 152 times by the WSJ. And Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett appeared in 68 NYT and 117 WSJ articles.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Arizona: Purchase of Country Club leads to petitions in Oro Valley

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath and council members Lou Waters, Joe Hornat, and Mary Snide are facing recall petitions over their vote to buy the El Conquistador Country Club  and Golf Course for $1 million, as well as approving a half cent sales tax to cover improvment cost for the property. Petitioners previously tried to stop the tax, but failed even though they presumably collected enough signatures. They were told the wrong total signature amount to collect.

Petitioners would need 2765 signatures for the mayor and 2193 for each council member. There was an attempt to recall another council member last year over a completely different incident, but that failed.

California: Further complaints about process of signature rejection in Salinas

The rhetoric in the op-ed is more than a bit overstated, but the point is one that we've seen before -- delay and official "subjective determinations are frequently used to kill a recall.

Massachusetts: Signature forgery claim in Saugus recall

There is not claims that of signature forgery on the petitions against Saugus Selectmen chair Ellen Faiella. Petitions against the other three selectmen have not been examined yet. Petitioners handed in 4850 signatures, and needed 4443 (recall is over the firing of the town manager). The recall is set for March 17. The story seems to say that the claim has been brought by a pro-selectmen PAC and its consultant, not by actual voters. If they can't get voters to state that they didn't sign, the forgery claim will face a very hard challenge to be successful.

Here's the key info:
Handwriting consultant Eileen Page, hired by the pro-selectmen PAC, said she found 832 unreadable or questionable signatures, even though Town Clerk Ellen Schena only found 43 she could not certify last November, when the issue first came up. Five hundred other names were tossed out because they were not registered voters.
“Signatures shifted from print to cursive,” she said. “People’s names were misspelled — there was either a letter that shouldn’t be there, or letters were omitted. No effort was made to disguise the writing style.”

California: Recall attempt against Perris Councilman arrested for meth possession fails

The recall attempt against Perris Councilman Julio Rodriguez failed, with petitioners not handing signatures. They needed 4661, and they claim they will try again. Rodriguez was arrested for possession of meth after reporting that his city-issued iPad was stolen. He has pled not guilty.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Massachusetts: Sagus Board of Register's member resigned in protest over recall

Don't see this happen to often -- the former town clerk and member of the Board of Registars Joanne D. Rappa resigned over the upcoming Selectmen recall (she doesn't face a recall there). Rappa's term was set to end on March 31.

Rappa claimed that the copy of the approved ballot was sent out to early, and therefore compromised.

Louisiana: St. John the Baptist Parish DA facing petitions

St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut is facing petitions less than two months into her six year term. Petitioner will need 9,666 signatures by August 10. IT doesn't say why the petitions have been taken out. Interestingly, Dinvaut came in second in the primary 46-34%m but the lead candidate dropped out before the runoff, and then died shortly afterwards.

Philippine: Bulacan Governor disappears to avoid recall service of process

The clock is running out on the already approved recall of Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado. The Supreme Court ordered the recall, signed by 319,707 voters, to go forward, but because the Governor has disappeared from sight, he cannot be personally served, which is one of the requirements of the recall. Now, the service has been mailed. Let's see if any of the big three Philippine recalls get to the ballot.

Arizona: Second shot at Glendale Councilman

Petitioners are taking another shot at Councilman Gary Sherwood. They had 6000 signatures tossed out in December over the issue of not having a box that said whether the petitioner was paid or volunteers.

Petitioners need 2752 signatures by June 20.

Philippines: Election Commission orders stop to Cagayan de Oro City mayoral recall

Just part of the continual trouble with recalls (and elections) in the Philippines.The Commission of Elections tossed out an attempted recall of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno over a missing information on the petitions, specifically the rasons and justification for the recall on every signature sheet.

The Philippines Supreme Court recently overturned a separate election commission attempt to kill a recall against a different mayor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

California: Oroville City Councilors facing petitions

Oroville City Councilors David Pittman, J.R. Simpson and Thil Wilcox due to a fight over whether to allow PG&E to cut down trees in a cemetery. Petitioners may also try going after Mayor Linda Dahlmeier and Councilor Jack Berry once their 90 day election grace period ends. The trees were cut down on February 6. 

Petitioners will need 1574 signatures to get on the ballot.

Oregon: Kitzhaber and the frequency of resignations

Unfortunately, I couldn't post this in time. At least the Oregonian ran this in a timely fashion -- here's my op-ed on Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation.

Georgia: Pierce County Board of Ed Chair avoids molestation charges, but can a recall be far behind?

 Pierce County Board of Education Chairman Mark Dixon won't be facing molestation charges due to a statute of limitation issue, but the recall is another story. It's not clear if even this case can overcome the Georgia recall rules (as a malfeasance/judicial recall state, it is not clear if even this is enough cause to get the recall on the ballot). 

Nevada: The Iceman Cometh -- challenger announced against Assembly Speaker

A water and ice vending machine business owner seems to have the backing of petitioners in a run against Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, if the recall gets on the ballot.

Michigan: Plymouth Township recall won't make May ballot

They still have time to get on the November ballot.

North Dakota: Lincoln mayor recall fight leads to House vote on vetoes

The case of the Lincoln mayor veto has resulted in an overwhelming House vote (90-1) to allow a city council to override a mayor's veto. The issue came up when Lincoln Mayor Bob Johnston vetoed a council bill on drainage and ground-water issues. The veto could not be overriden. The council than passed a motion allowing for a veto, which Johnston vetoed.

Petitions are still circulating against Johnston. Petitioners need 110 signatures (25% of mayoral turnout) in 90 days.

California: Kensington Police Board hit with recall petitions

Kensington Police Board directors Len Welsh, Chuck Toombs and Pat Gillett all received recall notices over a 16% pay raise (over 4 years), fallout from a non-suspension of a cop having his gun stolen by a prostitute in Reno, and questions over the police chief contract. The petitions were filed by a UC Berkeley political science professor, Kinch Hoekstra.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

California: Selma School board members facing threats

Selma School Board members who voted to buy out the school superintendent are facing recall threats. Looks like those three are Gilbert Lopez,Jennifer Winter and Roger Orosco. 

Colorado: Huachuca City Mayor facing recall elections -- ballots due on February 27

Ballots are out in the recall of Huachuca City Mayor Ken Taylor, as he faces off against former town council member Gene McCullough, Carol Durbin and Jon Smuda.

Colorado: Silverton Trustee survives recall vote

Silverton Trustee Karla Safranski survived a recall vote 245-201. The recall was launched over a fight between the public works director and the town manager, both of whom were fired.

Georgia: Petitions taken out against Grantville Councilman

Grantville City Councilman David Riley is facing recall threats over claims that he interfered with city personnel and supported investigations. Georgia requires a cause showing and this doesn't sound like it will qualify.

Petitioners first need 100 signatures by Feburary 25 and then would need 30% of eligible voters -- all must have voted in 2013. 

Maryland: Brunswick recall dropped, along with proposed pay as you throw trash charge

The recall effort against Mayor Karin Tome has been abandoned, as the mayor has dropped a proposed trash collection program that would charge users by the bag (pay as you throw). Petitioner claims to have gotten 90 signatures out of the 171 required.

Wisconsin: Stevens Point school board recall dropped

The recall attempt against Stevens Point Area School Board members Lisa Totten and Kim Shirek over complaints that they don't work well with other board members and create a hostile environment has been abandoned. PEtitioners needed 6549 signatures.

Texas: Ousted Laredo Councilman pleads guilty to possession of controlled substance

Jorge Vera got probation, and kicked out of office in a recall for his troubles.

Minnesota: State Senate bill would allow recall of School Board members

Currently, the school board members can be removed by a vote of the school board. The new bill would remove that provision and allow for a recall.

Washington: Petitioner retrying Snohomish County Prosecutor recall attempt

The attempt against Mark Roe failed due to the fact that he was up for reelection. Now, the petitioner is taking another try, with a court case asking if Roe can face a recall for his actions.

Massachusetts: Two Winchendon selectmen facing May 4th vote

Fedor Berndt and Elizabeth Hunt are both up for a vote on May 4th. Earlier discussion on the subject here

Florida: Recall effort against Bradenton Beach Mayor takes turn to forfeiture

Not content with the attempt to recall Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon, three members of the the city council voted to declare a "forfeiture" of the mayoral office.  The issue seems to be  violation of sunshine laws.

Nevada: Paperwork filed for recall of Assembly Speaker

Paperwork was filed by Nevada Assembly Speaker John Hambrick, though apparently the effort against Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus was been dropped, while that against Assemblyman Chris Edwards hasn't moved forward.

Ohio: Recall talk surrounds Cleveland Mayor

Complaints about the aftermath of a police shooting of a 12-year old has led to calls for the recall of Mayor Frank Jackson. Petitioners would need 12,000 signatures.

Taiwan: Appendectomy Project fails with legislator surviving recall vote

The recall of Kuomintang Legislator Alex Tsai failed Feb. 14 due to low voter turnout. Petitioners needed 50% turnout of the 317,434 voters. They got 24.98%. Almost all of the voters (76,737-2,196) voted for removal.

 According to CEC data, only a township councilor and village chief have been recalled from 1990 to 2011. Nine legislators faced motions, with six proceeding to ballots. 

Arizona: More discussion of push to recall state Superintendent of Public Schools


Oregon: Signatures handed in against Gearhart Mayor

114 signatures were handed in against Gearhart Mayor Dianne Widdop, petitioners need 102. Here's some earlier coverage.

Philippines: Supreme Court rules that Puerto Princesa recall must go forward

Puerto Princesa, Palawan Mayor Lucilo Bayron is now facing a recall, with the Supreme Court tossing out the mayor's petition. Lots of technical stuff, mainly on the issue of when the recall can start. But what was clear was the mayor was hoping to delay/kill it and that effort seems to have failed.

Arizona: Camp Verde Mayor, council members hit with recall over sales tax increase

Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German and council members Robin Whatley, Bruce George and Jessie Jones are being hit with petitions over their approval of a .65 percent sales tax increase. Petitioner needs 331 signatures per council member and 485 for the mayor by June 11.

Massachusetts: Sagus Selectmen recall ballot set

The ballot order has been set in the March 17 recall of Sagus Selectmen Ellen Faiella, Steve Castinetti, Maureen Dever and Paul Allan. The ballot order was set by pulling names from a drum.

Michigan: Tawas City Mayor facing May 5 recall

Tawas City Mayor Pro Tem Dave Dickman who is facing a May 5 recall, led by former Tawas Mayor Kane Kelly.

Colorado: Colorado Springs City Council recall getting weird

The lone candidate against City Councilor Helen Collins dropped out due to his ineligibility over a prior armed robbery felony conviction. In addition, there is a strange land deal involving the Collins, the possibility of Collins being chosen by the council to replace herself in the event of a successful recall and a $14,000 cost for signature gatherers. This one is scheduled for early April -- let's see what happens.