Thursday, August 12, 2004

The succession issue is just one of the thorny issues surrounding the Recall Sophie Maxwell campaign. Depending on the City Attorney’s interpretation of the Charter, the recall could mean a costly special election that proponents cite as an effort to suppress turnout: and it's notable that so far Dennis Herrera's office has favored a clear reading of the charter to keep rival candidates off the ballot, while ignoring a Charter provision that clearly states that a recall should be held with the nearest municipal or statewide election "within 105" days. That could mean putting a recall on the ballot long after ballots were printed already - but not in this case. So why does the Charter rule in one case, and not in the other. No wonder recall proponents are up in arms. ... Another major question is funding, and whether Herrera's office will defend a verbal ruling that recall funders won't have to report their identities and contributions until Jan. 31, 2005, likely after the recall itself. ... At one time the effort included paid signature gatherers -- and that's not cheap. Mel Washington, who owns a copy shop on Third Street, said he spent “about $1,000” on the recall, including free copies, and that all the money for the effort came out of the local community. Washington said he’s also comfortable with the mayor appointing a successor with community input, should the recall succeed. ... But Bay View Publisher Willie Ratcliff alleges downtown funding that dried up as soon as he began supporting the effort, and he points out changing interpretations of the law since The City months ago OK’d recall petitions that cited state law and replacement candidates. ...

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