We’ve been keeping an eye on a strange story out of Castle Rock (between Denver and Colorado Springs), where local residents have succeeded in securing a July date for a recall election to oust Mayor Paul Donahue.
Donahue is term-limited in 2016 anyway, but has apparently done enough to antagonize enough residents that a recall election has been set for July 26. As the oddly-named Castle Rock News-Press reports:
A mail-in ballot election on the recall of District 1 Councilmember and Mayor Paul Donahue has been set for July 26. Voters in Castle Rock’s District 1 can expect to receive a ballot in the mail in July…
…Castle Rock residents Suzanne Hackett, John Buckley and Malia Reeves initiated the recall petition for Donahue in early March.
Specific incidents cited in the petition allege he has dramatically reduced allotted time for public comment, denied residents the opportunity to speak and shown deference to out-of-town developers and “citizens who support his personal and political interests.”
Recall attempts are always interesting stories to some degree, but in this case, it’s what happened after the recall petition signatures were collected that gives this story a category of its own. Donahue has tried — unsuccessfully — to challenge some of the signatures collected to initiate the recall by insinuating that people were inebriated when they signed, among other nonsense. From KDVR:
Donahue is disputing the way in which he said the signatures were collected.
“This is a very vocal minority that is doing things in an inappropriate fashion,” said Abe Laydon, an attorney with Burns Figa & Will who represents Donahue.
Laydon said the mayor went door to door and found about 50 percent of the signers he spoke to were misled. [Pols emphasis]
“If somebody is approached and someone said, ‘Well, this is about development in Castle Rock,’ especially if they’re at a bar and may be inebriated, they might sign it and then walk out of the bar not knowing what they signed,” Laydon said.
Yes, you read that correctly: The Mayor himself went door-to-door to talk to people who signed the recall petition in order to see if they, you know, wanted to change their mind or something. Just…think about that for a moment. The Mayor of your town comes to your door asking whether or not you really meant to sign that petition to initiate a recall election. How awkward is that conversation?
Fox 31 has more from one of the women who collected petition signatures for the recall:
[Stacey] Rogers believed residents might have felt intimidated having the mayor show up at their door.
“People were already very nervous about signing,” she said. “Then for him and his crew to go to their doors, people are mortified.”
Mayor Donahue says that about half of the signers admitted to him that they were “misled” about the petition, but what else are you going to say when the freakin’ Mayor pounds on your front door?
Despite Donahue’s efforts to un-initiate the recall, an election will go ahead on July 26.