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Petition to recall councilman Daryl Dudley falls short

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | 6:44 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — On Sunday night, Jeanette Jackson-Thompson's house overflowed with people. All of them were there because of a petition.

In the last week, Jackson-Thompson, vice president of the Park Hill Improvement Association, has been one of the leaders of a petition to recall Fourth Ward Councilman Daryl Dudley over his support for ward reapportionment Trial D, a map that was rejected by the City Council. The petition was first distributed at 3:15 p.m. Thursday and was turned in to the city clerk at 3:57 p.m. Monday. In that time, the group collected 830 signatures.

"I met people that have lived here in Columbia that I'd never met before," Jackson-Thompson said.

City Clerk Sheela Amin said that because the number of signatures on the petition fell short of the charter requirement of 1,521, it will not be validated. The required number of signatures is based on 30 percent of the votes cast in the Fourth Ward in the last election.

Amin said the group has until Nov. 1 to continue collecting signatures. If it gets 691 more, Amin will check the signatures to determine whether the petition is valid. If it is, the council would put the recall on the next available ballot.

Now that the council has passed ward reapportionment Trial E, both Jackson-Thompson and Jeremy Root, an attorney and leader of the effort, have said they will step down as leaders of the petition drive. Root said the petitioners had not met to discuss their next step.

Root said that from his perspective, the recall petition was centered on the ward reapportionment issue. Now that Trial E has passed, the petition's goal has been met.

Despite the threat of recall by his constituents, Dudley cast the council's only “no” vote on Trial E.

"(Dudley's vote) sticks out like a sore thumb... and that thumb is going into the eye of his constituents," Root said.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill called the recall effort a personal attack on Dudley. He said the group was misusing a process that should be reserved for officeholders who commit serious crimes or when there is a "serious malfeasance" by a public official.

Root disagreed, saying recalls are used when representatives fail to listen to their constituents about issues affecting the city.

The last time a councilman was recalled in Columbia was in 1990, when Fifth Ward voters recalled Chester Edwards after an unpopular zoning vote.

Jackson-Thompson said she was inspired by the efforts of petitioners. "(Columbia is) a city that believes in fighting for what we believe in," she said.

For now, Root and Jackson-Thompson are content with a victory for Trial E. They said they'll wait until the next election to make a decision on Dudley.


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Comments

Mike Martin October 18, 2011 | 7:30 p.m.

More moral authority and political gravitas probably accrues to 4th Ward residents if they drop the recall effort, while acknowleding the astounding results: hundreds of signatures in a couple of days; and an amplified voice to media types and Council representatives that surely helped move them toward Trial E.

The 4th Ward narrowly escaped a political body blow. Daryl Dudley narrowly escaped a political body blow. Fair enough.

Meanwhile, 4th Ward residents recruit a great candidate to run against Mr. Dudley, and get behind that candidate with money and support. They take back their community from the special interests that control Mr. Dudley, and they do it with aplomb -- and a dollop of political mercy.

Now we know where everyone stands. We know the truth of several things, the great additional value of this inspiring debate.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 19, 2011 | 10:51 a.m.

Actually, I'd like to see the petition continue. I want to see if they can accumulate the additional 600+ signatures, and I want to see if the group can muster a "recall win" against all those who did not sign.

That way we can tell if Mr Dudley was not listening to his constituents, or just not listening (which, loosely translated, means "agreeing with") to a minority of constituents.

Inquiring minds want to know........

As it stands now, we don't know if the group abandoned the effort because they got their immediate desire (Trial E) or because they saw an undesired handwriting on the wall. We know what they 'say', but what is the real truth?

After all, Dudley remains in office and can do ALL sorts of future mischief.

Right?

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 19, 2011 | 2:59 p.m.

I have no doubt that if the recall effort were to continue, Mr. Dudley would be resoundingly recalled.

But fortunately, the 4th Warders gathering recall signatures didn't take the task lightly. They had a desired result -- Trial E passage -- that they achieved, with pen and words and footwork alone, in a democratic, legal, and officially-sanctioned process.

Given how seriously they took their effort, it's doubtful they would continue it just to see whether or not they could "muster a recall win" or to keep the experts-on-all-things pontificating on newspaper websites vicariously, from the comforts of home, office, or mobile device.

One thing I find striking is the contrast between these armchair types -- many of them anonymous -- and those who actually showed up at meetings, wrote letters to the editor, gathered signatures, and lobbied in person, either on behalf of -- or against -- Mr. Dudley and Trial D.

Only two people -- Bob Pugh and Rob Monsees -- wrote to the Trib supporting Mr. Dudley. Monsees was Mr. Dudley's Ward Reapportionment Committee who designed Trial D. Mr. Pugh chaired the committee and voted for Trial D (and also Trial E -- hedging his bets, apparently).

Nearly a dozen people wrote to both newspapers against Trial D and Mr. Dudley's efforts.

No one showed up to support Mr. Dudley in person -- at either the library or Council standing-room-only meetings -- and only John Clark showed up to support Trial D.

Armchair support doesn't mean much, as Trial E's astounding success indicates.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 19, 2011 | 3:36 p.m.

MikeM:

So the recall was just a bluff? Something to be pursued only as a form of pressure and lobbying against D to OTHER councilpersons? Mr Dudley voted for D in spite of the recall effort. He's still on the council, able to make mischief for all those who dislike him.

Either Mr Dudley's crimes are significant enuf for recall, or they aren't. Again, he "didn't listen" and went ahead and voted for D.

If the council had voted for D, many petitioners would not have even been in 4th anymore and could not have voted for the recall, as I understand it. As it turned out, they still ARE in the 4th, so you still have the bulk of your army.

A failure to follow through says a lot.....

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin October 19, 2011 | 5:33 p.m.

I can't speak for the recall strategists -- you'd have to ask them.

But of course, you weren't there, and it sounds like you don't know any of them.

Given your non-participation beyond opining here on all manner of Missourian stories, I have to question your capacity to criticize the people who do step out and step up.

I mean, you're on here talking about a failure to follow through. How about a failure to even show up in the first place?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 19, 2011 | 6:01 p.m.

Well, MikeM...A fine counter argument you have there. Follows all the rules of logic. I expected better.

And I have to question your criticism of me...a citizen just like you...and my ability to criticize anyone, on any topic, including you. Who made you hall monitor?

Even if I'm not directly involved or affected, I do enjoy seeing what kind of foibles and follies are out there. This is one of them.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 19, 2011 | 8:19 p.m.

Hello? Missourian? "knock...knock.....knock"

Sumbody got mad again and barfed spam all over the place.

Now we're all lost in the desert for 40 days.

Who's on first?

(Can't you track this knucklehead down?)

(Report Comment)
Kellie Kotraba October 20, 2011 | 7:19 a.m.

@Michael Williams,

We're doing our best to tackle the spam problem you're referring to — bear with us as we clean up, and thanks for continuing to read.

Kellie Kotraba
Assistant News Editor
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 20, 2011 | 7:45 a.m.

It's probably more than one knucklehead, and they're probably doing this from somewhere in Asia or Africa for a tenth of a cent per post or something. It's a fine balance between making it easy for people to register to post and being able to keep spammers out.

Ain't global connectivity wonderful?

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 20, 2011 | 7:55 a.m.

MarkF: What's the probability it's someone posting herein?...getting angry and posting spam from a public portal in retaliation?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 20, 2011 | 8:07 a.m.

@Michael - It's certainly possible. I do see spam like this in other places and it seems to be much the same merchandise, with the same lousy English, so I think it's some guy in say, Lagos in an Internet cafe trying to do something different than convince people they are heir to millions of dollars from a relative they never knew.

DK

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 20, 2011 | 8:47 a.m.

MarkF: Thanx. This is an arena I know little about.

Oh, btw, I've been taskedd with geting 5 quadrillion zimbabwa dollars out of a foreign banc and I wundered if you wantedd a cool 40% of it and all you have to did is give me your banc numbers.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 20, 2011 | 9:39 a.m.

Mike - "I've been taskedd with geting 5 quadrillion zimbabwa dollars" Did that offer come from a "Peggy" that sounds like a man? If so, look out, I saw her on TV.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle October 20, 2011 | 9:53 a.m.

Ad spam is endemic. All the sites I manage with comment sections get pounded with the crap. Virtually all of it comes from overseas. The only real "solution" for Missourian is to gatekeep the account creation process. I'm almost surprised they don't already, considering their "real name" commenter policy.

Filtering would catch the kind of spam that's been getting here lately (boilerplate ads), but... I also know what a huge (basically impossible) hassle it would be to shoehorn filtering software into this site's existing programming.

I believe they are considering moving to either Disqus or Facebook to provide comment services. I would much prefer they move to Disqus.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 20, 2011 | 4:58 p.m.

Frank:

Careful, dude. Peggy is my brother.

An identical twin to Phyllis.

(Report Comment)

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