Wednesday, August 24, 2011/lk
Cascade Locks citizens will vote Sept. 20 on recall petitions filed against five city council members and Mayor George Fischer.
"They have more than enough signatures. They're definitely going to make it," said County Elections Supervisor Kim Kean about recall petitions naming Fischer and City Council members Tiffany Pruit, Kevin Benson and Don Haight.
Chief petitioners Arne Kononen, Ralph Hesgard and Shawna Hasel turned in the petitions on Aug. 4 to Cascade Locks City Hall. City Recorder Kathy Woosley forwarded the petitions to Hood River County Elections, in keeping with state law.
In a separate action, a recall petition was filed Aug. 2 by chief petitioner Michael Blakley against council member Lance Masters. Woosley said the signatures have not been submitted, but she expected them to be turned in Friday.
Each of the five petitions must contain at least 62 valid signatures from registered voters residing in Cascade Locks, according to Kean.
Kean also noted that the initial four petitions contain about 180 signatures and there are about 600 registered voters in Cascade Locks. State law requires that a petition contain at least 15 percent of the number of Cascade Locks voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election.
The City of Cascade Locks will be billed for the cost of the election, which includes ballot preparation, printing, and mailing. Kean said she does not yet know what it will cost.
Kean said that after the petitions are turned in, her office has 10 business days to verify the signatures.
After the 10-day period, the elected officials named in the petitions have five days to respond with a rebuttal of 200 words or less. The rebuttals are published as part of the ballot. The election must be scheduled within 35 days after the five-day rebuttal period ends.
The 10 or more allegations in the petitions against Fischer, Haight, Benson and Pruit include "drastically cutting fire and EMS funds," slashing wages or eliminating valuable city positions, demeaning city employees and knowingly violating city laws.
Hasel, Hesgard and Kononen also accuse two of the elected officials of illegal behavior on behalf of one of the council members named in the recall petitions.
The petition against Masters states that Masters exhibited "manipulative and obstructive behavior," and allowed "uncontrolled" spending by the city.
The petition against Masters was submitted to Cascade Locks City Recorder Kathy Woosley Thursday and to Kean on Friday. Kean said all five petitions will be processed together in preparation for the September ballot date.