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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Could it be ‘total recall’ in Ohio?

The controversial new state law that strips some collective bargaining rights for public workers in Ohio — known as Senate Bill 5 — has fired up Democrats.

In addition to drafting plans to gather at least 231,149 valid signatures to repeal the law this fall, the legislation has also galvanized some Democrats to propose legislation to allow voters to recall the governor and Ohio General Assembly members.

With the GOP controlling both chambers of the Legislature and Republican Gov. John Kasich in power, the measure has little chance to pass.

It would be interesting to hear the banter on this issue, but I’ll be surprised if the proposal has more than one committee hearing, if there is one at all.

But Democratic sponsors said Ohioans should have the opportunity. Republican leaders counter that regular elections are the proper way to remove unpopular elected officials from office.

Although the Democratic efforts might be inspired by him, Kasich told statehouse reporters this week that the proposal is simply politics at play and his focus is on fixing the state’s problems.

Recalls are neither new nor unprecedented across the country.

Other states have recall procedures in place, such as in Wisconsin, where 16 state senators are under scrutiny after a law to change collective bargaining was passed.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was elected in 2003 after a recall of Democrat Gray Davis.

Ohio law does not recognize recall elections. Elected officials can only be removed if they do something illegal or conduct misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.

That means state and county elected officials and judges are exempt from recalls.

However, chartered communities can utilize recall elections if they so choose.

For example, Eastlake voters in November overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment that clarified recall procedures for any elected official in the city.

Petitions need to be signed by at least 20 percent of the voters in a ward who cast ballots in the last municipal election for a ward councilman or 20 percent of voters citywide for the mayor or a councilman at large.

The city has some history with recalls as former Eastlake Councilwoman Lynn Moon Curtis was recalled during a special election in Dec. 2004.

Euclid Mayor Bill Cervenik survived a recall election in July 2005 after petitions were submitted by a citizen action group, the Euclid Recall Awareness Committee.

Running in Geauga?

The latest people to have taken out candidacy petitions for the Nov. 8 election from the Geauga County Elections Board are:

Alan Preston for Cardinal Board of Education; David Fairbanks and Jack McCaskey for Chardon Board of Education; Kenneth Zwolinski for Troy Township trustee; Cindy Lausin for Thompson Township fiscal officer;  Irene McMullen for Munson Township trustee; Keith McClintock for Hambden Township trustee; Chuck Strazinsky for Chardon Township trustee; Joan Windnagel for Chardon Township fiscal officer; and Karen Austin for Chester Township fiscal officer.

Lake GOP Lincoln Day dinner

The Lake County Republican Party will host a Lincoln Day Dinner and Silent Auction April 20 starting at 6 p.m. at the American Croatian Lodge in Eastlake.

Keynote speaker is Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

See Dale Fellows or call the county GOP headquarters.


n Mayor Mark Tyler of Kirtland will host a Gathering of Friends, 5:30 to 7:30, Thursday at Dino’s Restaurant on Route 306. See Rick Blum or Sandy Tyler.

n Concord Township Trustee Connie Luhta will host a fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., April 28 at Hellriegel’s Inn in Painesville Township. See Chris Galloway, Paul Malchesky or Luhta.

n Willoughby Hills Council President Kevin Malecek: Annual Cinco De Mayo party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 5, Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Katherine Malecek or Nora Colburn

n Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, a candidate for Kirtland mayor: Meet the Candidate Night from 7 to 9 p.m. May 11, Kirtlander Party Center. See Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

John Arthur Hutchison’s column appears Sundays in The News-Herald. View it online at
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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