Arvada recall petitions have started circulating

Organizers have until the end of August to gather signatures

Casey Van Divier
cvandivier@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/8/20

Petitions to recall four Arvada city councilmembers were printed July 1 and those behind the effort have through the end of August to collect the signatures they need. In the coming weeks, …

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Arvada recall petitions have started circulating

Organizers have until the end of August to gather signatures

Posted

Petitions to recall four Arvada city councilmembers were printed July 1 and those behind the effort have through the end of August to collect the signatures they need.

In the coming weeks, circulators will be going door to door and setting up signing stations for petitions that seek to recall councilmembers Bob Fifer, Nancy Ford, Lauren Simpson and Mayor Pro Tem Dot Miller.

On June 9, resident Dave Palm filed a notice of intent to circulate a petition to recall Simpson. The same day, resident Jonah Hearne filed notices of intent to recall Fifer, Ford and Miller.

All four petitions claim the councilmembers have failed to represent the interests of Arvada voters and have placed their “own bias, agenda and special interests above the will of the voters.”

Hearne and Palm told the Arvada Press that they felt these claims were true specifically related to the councilmembers’ consideration of a contract between the city of Arvada and waste hauling company Republic Services.

The contract calls for more than 30,000 non-HOA households to automatically receive trash and recycling services through Republic. The contract also leaves an option for residents to find services through another hauler, but those residents will still be billed a monthly fee of $5.13, paid to the city and Republic. These residents will still have access to annual waste drop-off events organized by Republic.

The notices of intent were filed six days before the city’s June 15 vote on the proposed contract. Fifer, Ford, Miller and Simpson voted to approve the contract and all others voted no.

Those who filed the notices say the councilmembers have supported the contract because of their own agendas and have not listened to the citizens, as numerous residents spoke out against the contract before and at the June 15 meeting. Councilmembers have also heard from many residents in favor of the ordinance.

According to data from the city, out of all resident emails sent on the subject to be added to the public record, 231 supported the contract; 135 opposed the contract; and 19 were neither for nor against.

However, the recall organizers said that they and residents they have spoken to wanted the issue to go to a vote of the people, due to the fact that residents had such varying opinions on the topic. Some residents are against the contract because they believe it creates a monopoly; they oppose the monthly opt-out fee; the contract will cause their monthly trash rates to go up despite its aim to save residents money; and other reasons.

“I strongly believe that the people of Arvada deserve a voice in this significant change,” Hearne said.

With its decision, the council could be “setting a precedent,” he added. “Pretty soon, we could start losing more of our choices. We need to speak with our voice on the ballot to say, `is this OK or not?’”

Councilmembers refuted the organizers’ claims against them through their statements of defense, which are included in the circulating petitions.

“For almost two years, the input I have received from my constituents on this subject was in favor of single hauler. Only recently have I started to receive correspondence in opposition,” Miller’s statement read in part. “… Most of my constituents have made it clear to me that the safety of our children and the protection of our environment is of upmost importance. In moving to organized trash collection we will make our streets safer, increase recycling and reduce carbon emissions while greatly reducing the wear and tear on our underfunded roads.”

In their statements, Miller, Fifer and Ford cited a city survey that showed a majority of responding residents wanted a single hauler and more recycling options. Simpson’s and Fifer’s statements add that the majority of residents who contacted them supported the single hauler contract.

Additionally, Simpson said that many residents have told her they would disapprove of the issue going to a vote of the people.

“Many said they did not want to wait another two years and re-spend all of these resources just to come back to this same point,” she said. “Whether I agree or disagree with a particular view doesn’t matter. In the end, there were simply more residents asking us to vote yes. People say they want their representatives to listen, and that’s what we did.”

Now, Palm and Hearne have 60 days from when the petitions were finalized to gather signatures.

To result in a recall election, each petition must have a number of valid signatures equal to 25% of the total votes cast in a councilmember’s race for office. The deadline for each petition is based on when councilmembers submitted their statements.

The petition to recall Miller requires 6,691 valid signatures by Aug. 24.

The petition for Fifer requires 9,229 signatures by Aug. 25.

The petition for Ford requires 1,102 signatures by Aug. 26.

And the petition for Simpson requires 2,170 signatures by Aug. 28.

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