Freedom of speech isn’t a free pass to avoid the consequences of what one says. Or does. Tell that to three members of the Homer, Alaska, city council — Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds — who are the subject of a recall petition.
Well, a superior court judge just did.
Represented by the ACLU, the trio sued to block a recall petition with more than enough voter signatures. Their lawsuit challenged the city attorney’s acceptance of the legal rationale for the recall, claiming the recall attempt punishes the politicians for their speech.
“To conclude that anytime a recall petition is based in part or in whole on what a politician said is protected by the First Amendment,” Superior Court Judge Erin Marston ruled, “would be to eviscerate the recall statute to such an extent that the populace would almost never be able to seek recall of any of their elected officials.”
Now the recall moves forward.
In most of this Land of the Free, citizens lack the ability to recall their elected officials. In places that do have the process, it is rarely used. When it is used, it is often portrayed as voters throwing a temper tantrum.
Or an unfair election do-over.
Or mean-spirited ‘vendetta politics.’
Not so. The petition requirements make recalls very difficult. Recalls don’t happen without some serious problems with the current officeholder(s). And once a recall is triggered, there follows a democratic vote to decide whether citizens want to keep the sitting hireling or find someone new.
Seems pretty reasonable.
When politicians are recalled and removed, they deserve it.*
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* The problem seems never to be that good politicians are being recalled, but that too many politicians who should be recalled are not. Back in 2003, the governor of California was recalled. He deserved it. In 2011, a whopping 88 percent of Miami-Dade County voted to recall Mayor Carlos Alvarez. He earned it, too.