Recalls are a part of the democratic process

There were 13 recalls filed in Oregon in 2023, 16 in 2022 and 13 in 2021. Four of the recalls involved multiple individuals. In Lakeside, the Mayor and three city councilors were successfully recalled over rebranding the city logo.  In Cottage Grove, the recall of three city councilors did not qualify for the ballot.  In Brookings, the Mayor and two city councilors were successfully recalled because they wouldn’t terminate a city manager.  In Gervais, two city councilors were successfully recalled for lack of oversight.

The King City Recall is the fifth recall filing in Oregon for 2023 that involves more than one councilor.  The reasons for a recall here include not representing the community, lack of oversight, and mismanagement.

King City’s last election for city council was 14 months ago

The last election for city council was November ’22.  At that time, the public involvement phase of the Kingston Terrace Master Plan was underway.  The first deliberation by the city council was at the Transportation System Plan in June ’23, seven months after being elected.

As a community, we believed the council would make the right decision by listening to the overwhelming opposition by the community, listening to the environmental groups, and making an informed decision based on facts and not on unsubstantiated dire predictions of houses being razed to the ground.  Had the outcome been known, then yes, a different choice for the November ’22 election would have been preferable to a recall today.

City Hall and the police department are moving

The city council vision and the community vision aren’t necessarily aligned. Kingston Terrace designs for buildings and streets have been taking place for some time and many in the community may not be aware of the plans to build a new city hall and police department. The city manager speaks of the desire for a 24/7 city. Has this been made clear and does the city council vision match the community vision

City Council approved a no cause severance amendment as a recall “safeguard”

In the event of a successful recall, the city council on 1/8/24, voted and unanimously approved a no cause severance amendment to the contracts of city manager Mike Weston, the Chief of Police and Police Lieutenant.  According to the city council, these amendments were made as safeguards to protect these city employees in case of termination.  It was stated that these amendments were not necessarily in the best interest of the city. The severance details include 12 months of salary and benefits.  In addition, the city manager will be receiving a $350 a month car allowance.  The city is .81 square miles

Two potential buyers rescinded their offers when learning of the KTMP

Two potential new King City homeowners rescinded their offers after learning (by Law) of the Kingston Terrace Master Plan. A letter to King City Council from one of the (rightfully) frustrated sellers is attached here.

Details behind the attempt to stop the recall

Why was the recall petition revoked in October?

The recall petitions were approved by the City Recorder of King City on 9/20/23. Signature gathering began, but was halted on October 5th when the City Recorder sent a letter revoking the approved petitions and signature sheets.

The City Recorder said in his letter that “it appears that the recall petitions contain several instances of false information and material”. At the time of revocation, King City would not provide specific information as to why the petition was revoked and suggested we contact an attorney for legal advice.

Do you believe your statements were/are false?

We do not and have sought out a thorough review by legal counsel to make that determination.

Did the City Recorder have the authority to revoke the petition?

No. The Secretary of State sent an official letter on October 11th instructing the City Recorder to rescind his revocation of the petitions and signatures sheets and to reinstate them. The City Recorder did not comply.

What was the complaint that the Secretary of State filed against the City Recorder of King City?

On October 23, the Secretary of State filed a complaint in Washington County Circuit Court , argued by the Oregon Dept of Justice, against the City Recorder of King City asking the court to direct the City Recorder of King City to comply with the Secretary of State’s instruction and rescind his letter which revoked the petitions.

Laura Kerns, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, was quoted in Willamette Week article October 23:

“The elections official’s statutory role is to administer the recall statutes neutrally, without considering the substantive merit of the reasons for recall. It can be understandably difficult for election officials to facilitate a petition that they believe is inaccurate or misguided, but it is the right of voters to determine the merit of a petition.”

“It sets a dangerous precedent for elections officials to edit political speech. The Elections Division’s interpretation is that there is nothing in statute or rule that allows an elections official charged with administering petitions to halt signature gathering because the official believes it contains a falsehood.”

What was the outcome of the complaint filed by the Secretary of State against King City?

The court agreed with the Secretary of State and asked the attorney to draft an order requiring the city recorder to rescind his letter which revoked approval of the petition. The city recorder did this on October 27.

The court did not find any false statements.

We resumed collecting signatures on October 28.

The 90 day deadline for collecting signatues did not change. The delay caused by the City Recorder’s revocation/reversal reduced the time for signature gathering by about 3 weeks. In spite of this, we were able to gather 870 signatures – about double the required amount of 442.