Dueling recall efforts underway

Ashland is developing a case of recall fever.

One day after Plaza business owner Richard Hansen announced his intention to recall three members of the Ashland City Council, another Ashland resident filed papers to recall a fourth.

Aaron Corbet is targeting Councilor David Chapman, saying, in his initial filing that Chapman "sows dissension in the city council."

"He has a deep antipathy toward three members of the council, and consistently tries to undermine their efforts," he wrote in a petition for recall filed with the city recorder. "He has a clear contempt for the democratic process whether within council or among the public."

Corbet, who does not own a phone, could not be reached for comment and did not reply to an e-mail asking him about his efforts. In a recent e-mail to the City Council Listserv, he advises the council to "dump" Mt. Ashland Association, calling the ski area's board of directors "uncivilized and nutso."

Chapman, who happened to be in the city recorder's office when Corbet was completing the paperwork, said later that Corbet's assertions about him are wrong.

"Dr. Corbet mistakes antipathy with frustration," he said. "I have absolutely no antipathy towards my fellow councilors. I get along with all of them, and talk to all of them."

With the dueling recall campaigns in the works and rumors of more recall filings to come, Chapman said, "Maybe this will turn out to be the referendum on Mount Ashland that everybody is wondering about."

Hansen also picked up recall paperwork Tuesday. He said he would be meeting today with the "core group" to discuss his recall campaign, adding that they have not yet decided whether to recall Councilors Alice Hardesty, Cate Hartzell and Eric Navickas, or just Navickas.

Hansen said he went public with his intention to recall the three councilors over the weekend at the request of KOBI-TV station owner Patsy Smullin. Smullin could not be reached for comment.

Navickas did not fault Hansen for wanting him out of office, calling the recall effort a sign that his political agenda &

which differs dramatically from Hansen's &

is gaining support.

"He has every right to use the democratic process to move his political agenda forward," Navickas said. "It shows that when you do your homework, work hard as a councilor and are effective, there will be those that will oppose you."

Mayor John Morrison, who was the target of a recall effort in 2006 that failed to gain the required signatures, said the latest recall efforts are "neither good for the city, or good for anyone's ends. It's corrosive for the city."

He added that it is unreasonable for Ashland residents "to expect the council will always get along in perfect harmony, but there are times the current council forgets that its ultimate responsibility is to the city of Ashland and to the voters."

For a recall campaign to move forward, a petitioner must collect 1,461 signatures, or 15 percent of the Ashland residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election, in 90 days from registered Ashland voters, said City Recorder Barbara Christensen. Once the signatures are turned into the city and verified by the Jackson County elections office, the candidate in question has five days to either resign or submit a 200-word essay justifying his or her position. Then, a special election would happen within 35 days. A special recall election could happen in either December or earlier depending on how long it takes petitioners to garner the necessary signatures.

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