Recall question for Valentine added to November election

Ballot question will only be for District 5 voters

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A question on whether or not to recall Castle Rock District 5 Councilmember Renee Valentine will be added to the Nov. 8 regular municipal election. All voters in Castle Rock can expect to receive their ballots in the mail in October, but District 5 voters will be the only ones with this ballot question.

District 5 includes Castle Oaks, Cobblestone Ranch, Escavera and Founders Village.

Valentine will continue to serve in office while the recall process takes place. She was first elected in 2011 and her second term expires in 2018.

Castle Rock residents Jeff Linn, Amy Fienen and Sid Brooks initiated the recall petition for Valentine in March.

Specific incidents in the petition allege she has approved budgets in the past three years where expenditures exceed revenues by more than $90 million; refuses to support Citizens Petition 2016B, which would have given citizens the right to vote on annexations of five or more acres; and voted to limit public input at town council meetings to three minutes per person.

On May 16, Castle Rock Town Clerk Sally Misare validated 273 signatures — five more than the 268 needed for the petition to move forward. Valentine filed a protest to the petition, but withdrew the protest June 2, the day before the protest hearing. Citing suspected signature fraud, Valentine and her attorney, Scott Gessler, have sought an investigation by the 18th Judicial District. The District Attorney's office confirmed that it did receive information and is looking into the case.

Validation of signatures includes matching the name on the petition to a registered voter; matching the address provided to that voter registration; and in the case of the recall petitions, verifying that the registered voter lives in the district of the councilmember in question.

Castle Rock does not do signature verification and state statute does not allow or have a process for signature verification on petitions. If the information is correct, then the signature is validated. But signatures are not compared for verification.

The validity of signatures is what Valentine and her attorney are questioning.

Despite the possible investigation, the recall election still move forward.

The ballot question will include the 200-word statement of reasons for the recall written by petitioners. It will be the same statement printed on the certified petition. It will also include a 300-word justification for her course in office, written by Valentine.

This will be followed by a "yes" or "no" question asking if Valentine should be recalled. If she is recalled, council would appoint a replacement who would serve the remainder of her term.

Recall of Mayor Paul Donahue

A mail-in ballot election on the recall of Mayor Paul Donahue, who represents District 1, has been set for July 26. Voters in that district can expect to receive a ballot in the mail in July. The district includes the western side of The Meadows neighborhood.

Donahue, who is term-limited, was first elected in 2008. His term will expire in November. He was appointed as mayor by other members of council in 2012 and again in 2014.

The petition to recall Castle Rock District 2 Councilmember Mark Heath was dropped by petitioners. It will not move forward.

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