Since the Rawles story broke, we at Exurban League (okay, mostly me), have been discussing a possible recall of Mesa’s non-responsive Councilmember. Yesterday, I even stopped by the City Clerk’s office to get the required paperwork for a recall campaign.
After perusing the small mountain of bureacratic requirements and legal vagaries, I sought additional input from friends, community leaders and neighbors here in District 3. And the end of all this, I mapped out the major pros and cons of a recall.
- Hold Rawles accountable
- Exercise our rights
- The approximately $40,000 of taxpayer funds needed for a special election
- A special election could not be held until November 2007 (possibly September, but not likely)
- Could endanger the most qualified representation for District 3
After weighing both lists, and considering the significant legal, financial and time resources required, I have decided it would be counter-productive for me personally to launch a recall campaign.
With the City’s dwindling treasury, I believe that $40,000 could be much better spent elsewhere. Especially since a successful campaign would cut short Rawles tenure by just a single year. If an election could be held later this spring, it would be more effective. But a recall seems like a lot of time and effort to boot out one isolated, ineffective Councilmember for 12 months.
Also, we would need to find a placeholder for the last year of Rawles’ term. Someone who would be willing to serve for one year, then step down to make room for the former Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh who has already announced his candidacy. With a long track record of actually listening to his constituents (what a thought!), Kavanaugh is obviously the most qualified person to fill District 3’s council seat.
We’ve had a great debate on this issue, both in blog entries and the comment sections. I’m sure a few of our readers are supportive of this choice, while others are disappointed. To those desiring a recall, any citizen of District 3 can launch the effort. Please don’t let my decision hold you back.
If someone is still interested in going through with a recall of Councilmember Rawles, let me provide some advice. The 889 signatures is by far the easiest part. The City Clerk’s office (an excellent team, by the way) will give you a phone-book sized pile of instructions, laws and forms, many from the State of Arizona. You will be required to set up an official organization with the State, appoint officers, set up a special account and comply with all the campaign finance requirements.
I strongly advise you to first line-up significant legal and book-keeping resources. Since Rawles is a lawyer who essentially sued his way into office, I would expect him to challenge any citizen-led effort. Also, due to the complexities of election and finance law, expect this to be a full-time job from now through Election Day in November. I just wanted you to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
As far as Mr. Rawles goes, he has lost what little respect he had in this community, damaged his anti-war effort by making it look utterly anti-American, and made a mockery of his purported Libertarian principles. (Taxation without representation, anyone?) And I’m sure the backlash over his ill-conceived decision has only just begun. It’s not to late to take my simple advice
Thanks again to all of our readers and everyone who shared their input on the recall decision — pro, con or indifferent. The many email, phone and face-to-face conversations helped more than I can say.
Number of comments: 11 Add comment
January 31st, 2007 by admindude