Man drops recall effort against Beeson
The organizer of a recall drive against one Yuma city councilman has dropped his campaign to instead support a recall effort against two other councilmen that is headed to state court.
Robert Johnson, head of the effort to recall City Councilman Cody Beeson, confirmed Monday that he had not met last week's deadline to turn in his recall petition. He said he was well on his way to collecting the required 1,856 signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot when he decided to drop the drive.
“I don't think I would have gotten a fair shake from the county,” he said, given that a number of signatures were declared invalid in a separate recall effort against Councilmen Paul Johnson and Jerry Stuart.
In their reviews of the signatures, Yuma City Clerk Lynda Bushong and Yuma County Recorder Robin Stallworth Pouqette struck several, leaving the petitions against Paul Johnson and Stuart with insufficient signatures to call a recall election.
Robert Johnson said he still believes Beeson is deserving of recall, but will instead focus on the recalls of the other two councilmen because he believes there has been a double standard. He says that Paul Johnson and Stuart have looked the other way with Beeson but they supported an investigation into alleged misconduct by the mayor.
Meanwhile, the recall drive against Paul Johnson and Stuart now is before the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Attorney Joshua Carden said an appeal was filed in mid-September and opening arguments are scheduled to be presented to the court Nov. 27. He expects the court to make a decision by the end of the year.
The plaintiffs, Recall Them All 2012 and committee chairman Mitchell Dunn, are asking the Appeals Court to overturn a ruling in August by Yuma County Superior Court Judge John Nelson dismissing their lawsuit against Bushong and Stallworth. In his ruling, Nelson said the court had no jurisdiction in the matter of whether Bushong and Stallworth Pouquette improperly removed signatures collected by Recall Them All 212.
Even after the Appeals Court rules, the case could be tied up in various courts for some time, acknowledged Carden. This may well make any final decision too late to call a special recall election before the August 2013 primary for the next Yuma City Council election.
Terms of both Paul Johnson and Stuart expire next year. Both say they are undecided at this time whether to seek re-election.
“Even if the recall itself becomes a moot point,” Carden said, “I'll be glad if there's a decision that says the Superior Court does have the jurisdiction to review the actions of the recorder and clerk. It will establish a precedent.”
Beeson said he just wants the council to get back on track “and focus on what is important.”
Paul Johnson expressed concern about the mounting legal bills in the recall efforts. “This is a total waste of taxpayer money,” he said.
He and Stuart agreed that there are still a lot of hoops to go through that could bring a recall election within three months on the primary.
“We'll just have to see what the judge has to say,” said Stuart.