CategoryLocal

School board recall effort begins in California

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Antelope Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees in California started in April. Board President Robert Davis, Vice President Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell were targeted for recall due to allegations of excessive, unnecessary, and duplicative expenditures, troubling contracts with friends and associates, a failure to support student families, and a lack of respect toward members of the community according to the notice of intent to recall filed with the county.
 
In response to the recall, Davis said that the board had a new vision for the district and that change was hard to accept. He said he believed the board was on the right track.
 
Ruffin and Parrell were first elected to the board on November 6, 2018. Davis was first elected to the board on November 3, 2015.
 
If the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk approves the recall petitions, recall supporters will have 160 days to collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in each of the board member’s districts. A total of 3,982 signatures are needed from Davis’ district, 3,416 signatures are needed from Parrell’s district, and 3,694 signatures are needed from Ruffin’s district.
 
Ballotpedia has tracked six school board recall efforts targeting 13 board members so far in 2019.
 
In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Virginia Beach holding 3 regular and 3 special elections in 2019

The city of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is holding regular elections for clerk of court and two positions on the Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation District on November 5, 2019, as well as a special election for treasurer after the 2018 retirement of John Atkinson, who served in the position for 41 years. Atkinson’s son—Clay Atkinson—filed in the election and faces interim incumbent Leigh Henderson.
 
Two additional special elections will be held on November 5 for the Beach District and Rose Hall District seats on the Virginia Beach City Council. In the Beach District, Councilman David Nygaard was removed from office on March 19 after local judges ruled he did not meet the residency requirements to fill the seat. He was first elected to the position on November 6, 2018. On April 23, the council appointed interim member Guy Tower to serve until the November election.
 
Councilwoman Shannon Kane also resigned from her position as representative of the Rose Hall District on April 6, 2019. According to WAVY, Kane purchased a home outside of the district and was moving immediately. She also filed to seek election to the Virginia House of Delegates to represent District 21 and is running in the general election on November 5, 2019. The council has until May 7 to choose Kane’s successor.
 
The filing deadline for clerk of court and city treasurer was March 28, and a primary election for these positions is on June 11. The candidate filing deadline for the Virginia Dare District members and independent candidates for all races is June 11, and the filing deadline for the special city council elections is August 16.
 


Runoff elections determine winners in three Tampa City Council races

Tampa held general runoff elections for mayor and three of seven city council seats on April 23, 2019. Runoffs were required for these four races after no candidate received a majority of the general election vote on March 5.
 
In the city council’s District 1 race, Joseph Citro defeated Walter Smith with 57.4% of the unofficial election night vote total. In District 3, John Dingfelder defeated Stephen Lytle with 64.0% of the vote, and in District 5, Orlando Gudes defeated Jeffrey Rhodes with 50.8% of the vote.
 
Races in Districts 2, 4, 6, and 7 were all decided in the general election. Incumbents Charlie Miranda, Guido Maniscalco, and Luis Viera won the Districts 2, 6, and 7 races, respectively. The District 4 election did not feature an incumbent and was won by Bill Carlson. 
 
In the mayoral runoff election, unofficial results showed Jane Castor defeating David Straz with 73.1% of the vote. FOX 13 identified both candidates as members of the Democratic Party. Castor had received 48.0% of the vote in the general election, and Straz received 15.5%.
 


Castor wins Tampa mayoral runoff

Former police chief Jane Castor defeated philanthropist David Straz 73-27 in the runoff election for Tampa’s open mayoral seat. Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D) was term-limited and unable to run for re-election.
 
Castor is a member of the Democratic Party, so the mayor’s office will not change partisan hands. Tampa is one of 20 cities with a Democratic mayor with elections in 2019, while there are seven with a Republican mayor and four with independent mayors also holding elections.
 
The two candidates initially advanced from a field of seven candidates in the March 5 general election. In that contest, Castor earned 48 percent of the vote while Straz earned 15 percent. In that election, Castor won 101 of the city’s 103 precincts.


Tampa mayoral race to be decided Tuesday

On Tuesday, voters in Tampa will elect a successor to term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D). Former police chief Jane Castor and philanthropist David Straz are running in the election after being the top two finishers in the March 5 general election. Castor received 48 percent of the vote, while Straz received 16 percent.
 
Heading into the runoff election, Castor holds polling leads and more endorsements. Straz has a fundraising advantage and has released twice as many campaign advertisements. The primary issues in the race have been transportation and development.
 
No matter who wins the Tampa race, control of the city will not change partisan hands—FOX 13 said that all candidates identify as members of the Democratic Party.
 
Among the country’s 100 largest cities, Tampa is one of 20 cities with a Democrat-held mayor’s office up for election in 2019. Seven Republican-held seats and four seats held by independents are also up for election.


Colorado school board recall moves forward

An effort to recall three of the five members of the Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 school board in Colorado was approved to move forward on April 17. Board President Timothy Braun, Treasurer Dennis Jones, and Secretary Tonya Martin were targeted for recall due to “multiple violations of Colorado state statutes, school board policies and resolutions, Sunshine laws and the Colorado Open Records Act,” according to Patty Waddle, a leader of the recall effort.
 
Braun, Jones, and Martin disputed all of the claims listed on the recall petitions. Braun said Waddle was a disgruntled former employee. The three board members have until May 2 to file protests against the recall election. If they protest the recall, a hearing will be held on the validity of the petition signatures and the length of the ballot summary. If they do not file protests, the county will schedule a recall election within 60 days.
 
The recall petitions were approved for circulation by the Teller County Clerk and Recorder in January 2019. To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had to submit the petitions with 400 signatures from active, registered voters in the school district for each targeted board member by March 11. The county did not verify enough of the signatures that were first submitted, and recall supporters were given until April 10 to submit more signatures. They submitted the additional signatures, which the county approved on April 17.
 
Ballotpedia has tracked five school board recall efforts in 2019 targeting 10 board members. One recall effort against two board members was on the ballot so far this year. In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials. Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.
 


Mayor-endorsed candidates for Newark school board win election for ninth consecutive year

Three at-large seats on the Newark Public Schools school board in New Jersey were up for general election on April 16. Incumbent Tave Padilla, A’Dorian Murray-Thomas, and Shayvonne Anderson ran together on the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate and were endorsed by Mayor Ras Baraka. They won the 2019 election and were the only candidates to receive double-digit percentages of the vote. This marked the ninth consecutive election where a slate endorsed by the mayor won. The board is comprised entirely of members who were backed by Baraka.
 
Incumbent Leah Owens, Denise Cole, and Saafir Jenkins ran together on the Children Over Politics team. The other candidates in the race—Maggie Freeman, Priscilla Garces, Arlene Ramsey, Yolanda Johnson, and Denise Ann Crawford—ran as independents. The third incumbent, Deborah Kim Thompson-Gaddy, did not file for re-election.
 
The 2019 election was the second since local control was returned to the district by the New Jersey State Board of Education on September 13, 2017. The state originally took over the district in 1995. The change in 2017 gave control to the Newark Board of Education to make decisions about finances, operations, curriculum, and programs in the district.
 


Honolulu voters choose different winner in April re-do of November election

A special election for District 4 on the Honolulu City Council was held on April 13, 2019. It was called after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated the results from the district’s regular election on November 6, 2018. Both candidates who ran in the regular election, Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters, were on the ballot in the special election.
 
Ozawa previously held the District 4 seat but was removed on January 2 pending the special election. A total of 34,005 votes were cast in the re-do election, with Waters receiving 51.4% of the vote to Ozawa’s 48.5%. In the November 2018 regular election, then-incumbent Ozawa had defeated Waters by 22 votes out of over 36,000 ballots cast, a margin of 0.06 percentage points.
 
Waters challenged the November results, arguing that some mailed absentee ballots should not have been counted. The court determined that 350 absentee mail-in ballots were received after the 6:00 pm election-day deadline and were incorrectly counted and added to the valid ballots. Because there was no way to distinguish between valid and invalid ballots and more ballots were incorrectly counted than the number of votes that separated the two candidates, the court called for a new election.
 
Waters and Ozawa previously faced off in the 2014 general election. In that race, Ozawa defeated Waters by 47 votes out of 37,162 ballots cast, a margin of 0.2 percentage points. Waters challenged those results and asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to call for a recount, but his request was rejected.
 
Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii and the 53rd-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


California: April 22 deadline to register to vote in May 7 local elections

April 22 is the deadline to register to vote in local California elections taking place May 7. Voters in nine counties across the state are set to decide on local ballot measures at the special election.
 
Issues on the ballot include a residential care facility initiative for Solana Beach voters in San Diego County and a school district parcel transfer for district voters in San Mateo County. Inverness Public Utility District voters in Marin County will decide on an increase to the appropriations limit, and the remaining measures are parcel tax questions for district voters in Calaveras, Lake, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, and Santa Clara counties. Voters may visit their county elections websites for more information on voting and voter registration.


Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and former Mayor John Street (D) endorse in Philadelphia mayoral primary

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) and challenger Anthony Williams (D) each picked up noteworthy endorsements Thursday in Philadelphia’s Democratic mayoral primary election.
 
Kenney, who was first elected in 2015, was endorsed by seven political figures including Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and all three of Philadelphia’s representatives to the U.S. House.
 
Williams, who was the runner-up in the 2015 Democratic primary, was endorsed by former Mayor John Street (D) on the same day. Street was first elected in 1999 and won re-election in 2003.
 
Williams and former City Controller Alan Butkovitz (D) are Kenney’s only primary challengers.
 
According to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday, Kenney had $655,000 cash on hand as of April 1, while Williams and Butkovitz each reported $50,000 on hand.
 
The winner of the May 21 primary will face attorney Billy Ciancaglini (R) and any declared nonpartisan candidates in the November 5 general election. Since Philadelphia adopted its current charter in 1951, no Republican has won a mayoral race and no incumbent seeking re-election has been defeated.
 
Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-largest nationwide by population. Twenty-six of the 100 largest cities by population will be holding mayoral elections in 2019. Five (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Dallas) are among the 10 largest cities.
 
Democrats hold the mayor’s office in 18 of the cities with elections this year. Republicans and independents hold four each.
 


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