By Donna Westfall – June 9, 2017 After the publication of the Notice of Intent to Circulate Recall Petition in the Del Norte Triplicate on May 18, 2017, the next step in the recall process is to provide the County Clerk, Alissia Northrup, with Proof of Publication along with two blank copies of the Petition for Recall.
That next step was taken on May 23rd. Then the county clerk had up to 10 days to approve or reject the Petition for Recall which she did and returned the copy with a number of errors that had to be corrected. Once the corrections were made, handed in and verified, the green light was given to start collecting signatures beginning June 8th.
Lori Cowan won the office against long-term 2nd District supervisor, Martha McClure, in part due to the bad press McClure received by the LA Times concerning McClure’s role while on the California Coastal Commission. Cowan being the only other candidate won by nearly 65% in the June, 2016 Primary.
The first sign that something was amiss was when Candidate Cowan aligned herself with Sup. 1st District, Roger Gitlin, and Candidate 5th District, Bob Berkowitz, and their five year plan for an alternate route for Last Chance Grade. Before the Primary vote, according to Sup. Gitlin, she agreed with their platform. A few days after the election, she shifted gears and said it couldn’t be done in five years.
Then, the next controversy involved Sup. Cowan’s desire to go to Japan. It was on the agenda under the CONSENT AGENDA which in the past, has had a pattern of being rubber stamped without thoughtful consideration given to each and every item.
Four free tickets had been provided by a town in Japan to the City of Crescent City and Del Norte County. Selected for the trip were Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore, City Council member, Heidi Kim, City Clerk, Kimmy Scott and Del Norte Supervisor, Chris Howard. Public comments let Lori Cowan know she could have gone if she wanted to pay her own way instead of asking the taxpayers to foot the bill. Her rational – there’s money in the County budget for traveling, therefore the taxpayers should foot the bill. Some of her constituents questioned why there was no documentation or expenses listed.
The next sign of concern came when she nominated herself as an alternate on the Washington DC trip. Since her self nomination was not agendized, it was a Brown Act violation. That violation was cleared up at the next Board Of Supervisors meeting through a Cure and Correct by having the item placed on the agenda. The vote was 3-2, that she could be the alternate.
Previous supporters of Cowan then looked cross-eyed at Cowan voting in concert with Howard and Hemmingsen wondering why someone as inexperienced as Cowan would self-promote instead of sending a seasoned, former Congressional staffer back to Washington DC in the form of Supervisor Bob Berkowitz. And that’s when the idea of recall gained traction.
WHO CAN SIGN AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
624 signatures of registered voters in District 2 are required to put the recall on the ballot. Signatures must be collected within 60 days, turned in on August 7th, and then the County Clerk has 30 days to verify the signatures.