There are now two committees in place to recall Glendale (AZ) Councilmember Bart Turner and Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff. Both members were elected in the November 4, 2014 election. The committees were formed by four Glendale citizens.
Reasons for Recall
The 200 word summary, a required component when forming a recal committee, is intended to summarize the reasoning behind the recall effort. It is published on every petition sheet so people being asked to sign the petition can’t be misled by petition circulators.
Other than the name, the 200 word summaries are identical.
Mr. Turner has demonstrated he is more interested in his own agenda then the wellbeing of the citizens and businesses that call Glendale home. Mr. Turner has taken a position on several issues that have damaged the reputation of the City of Glendale and placed it in a position to pay several hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Mr. Turner displayed poor judgement in being party to forcing the resignation of key female employees, diverting money earmarked for public safety into a rainy day fund (which has increased emergency response time), and voting to nullify the arena management agreement without an alternate plan or financial projections.
Mr. Turner left the City in a disadvantageous position. The reputation of the City for being a good partner that will honor long-term binding agreements and contracts is severely tarnished.
Among other things, because Mr. Turner joined in to vote hastily to reject an existing agreement without a public plan to recover the losses, because he is partially responsible for a decrease in the public safety of Glendale, he should be removed from office as soon as possible.
Deadline for Signatures
The committees have 120 days (until October 17, 2015) to turn in their signed petitions to the Glendale City Clerk. 2,290 signatures from voters within her Cholla district are required to force a recall election for Tolmachoff, the requirement for Turner is 1,549 voters from the Barrel district.
If the required number of valid signatures is turned in, both Councilmembers would be able to run for their seat in a recall election in March, 2016.
The list of objections expected from the Councilmembers and their supporters will circle around emotional Coyotes fans reacting to their team being removed. The same people making these arguments will happily justify the recall effort for Councilmember Gary Sherwood as a well thought out, reasoned approach with no agenda beyond improving the City of Glendale.
Both assumptions are wrong.
These recall efforts are based on poor decision making by the two councilmembers.
This is as much about voting to shift the destination for the sales tax that will NOT be removed when initially promised under Proposition 457. Much, if not all, of the lobbying efforts supporting the increased sales tax through Proposition 457 emphasized the importance to public safety budgets.
The budget recently approved by the Councilmembers targeted for recall shifts the destination of the sales tax money from public safety to a rainy day fund.
Emergency services response times are climbing in Glendale, removing funds won’t make that better.
The vote to nullify the IceArizona arena management agreement is another example. Councilmember Aldama presented a motion to delay the vote, to give the parties a week or so to try and resolve differences. That motion was voted down, and the council voted to reject their agreement with the Coyotes.
If that wasn’t foolhardy enough, there was NO alternate plan presented to manage the arena in the absence of IceArizona, leaving no option but to shutter the arena until that RFP process was run through all over again.
Chances For Success
What are the chances of these committees succeeding in gathering the required signatures?
It depends. It’s clear that recall petitions are significantly more successful with paid circulators. The summer season is upon us, not the best time to circulate petitions. However, there are four months to gather the necessary signatures from the districts, so the task isn’t herculean.
If paid circulators are used, the chance of these two committees succeeding has to be nearly 100%. The people involved are experienced and meticulous in their preparation, so no “technicalities” will trip up the efforts. A volunteer force of circulators could work, but the chance for success drops significantly.
We’ll know by October 17.