A group of Homer residents has filed a petition with the city clerk containing more than 460 names of residents who signed a request to recall three Homer City Council members.
The filing is one more step in what may be one of the largest local recall efforts in Alaska state history, asking voters to remove three of six council members.
Larri Fancher, Larry Zuccaro, and Mike Fell handed the petitions to Clerk Jo Johnson at 3 pm on Friday. They then took down their temporary recall headquarters on Ocean Drive and closed up their name-gathering operation. Within two weeks, they had acquired more than enough names to force a recall. They were satisfied with their work.
Clerk Johnson must verify the signatures and decide whether the petitioners have a legitimate case against council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds, who angered many in this fishing-and-art community for attempting to enshrine Homer as a “sanctuary city,” where illegal immigrants could find safe haven from federal immigration authorities.
“We think Jo will be able to verify the 373 voter names needed within a couple of days,” said Zuccaro on Sunday. He said the group could have kept gathering signatures, but felt that having more than 25 percent above what was needed would be sufficient and it was time to move on to organize for a vote.
The group says in its petition that “Aderhold, Lewis and Reynolds are each proven unfit for office, as evident by their individual efforts in preparation of Resolution 16-121 and 17-109, the text of which stands in clear and obvious violation of Homer City Code Title 1.”
Those efforts include trying to pass Resolution 16-121, opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the effort to “resist” President Donald Trump and create a sanctuary city through Resolution 17-019.
The final version of the sanctuary resolution was unconvincing to many members of the public.
Several clauses, such as, “the city of Homer will not cooperate with federal agencies in detaining undocumented immigrants unless such actions are supported by court-issued federal warrants” were changed in the final version. But the intent was clear, they said, in the final version: “the city of Homer will cooperate with federal agencies in detaining undocumented immigrants [only] when court-issued federal warrants are delivered.”
With all the anti-Trump language in the original version of the resolution, it could be argued the three were engaged in partisan politics. That may violate the city’s Title 1 code prohibiting certain partisan political activity by city officials while on duty. There is also the matter of whether the three are simply unfit for office.
While the sanctuary city resolution eventually was watered down into an “inclusivity” resolution, it was already toxic because of the trail of emails uncovered by the citizen activists who now seek the removal of Alderhold, Lewis and Reynolds.
If a special election is held, it will probably be in May, Zuccaro said. Then, if voters decide to remove the three, the remaining council members and mayor would appoint interim council members.
Two of those who are targeted for removal — Reynolds and Lewis — are up for re-election in October. The third, Aderhold, would face voters next year.
The complete email chain between the three that has Homer so stirred up has been posted in the Peninsula Clarion.