King County Elections has set a date for Black Diamond Councilwoman Pat Pepper’s recall.
On Sept. 5, Neighbor to Neighbor — the citizen group responsible for filing recall charges against Pepper — submitted 639 signatures that approved of the recall effort going onto an election ballot.
The county canvassed 473 of the signatures on Sept. 11 and determined more than enough were valid to move forward with the recall effort.
King County Elections sent a Sept. 12 letter to Robbin Taylor, head of Neighbor to Neighbor, stating the recall election will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5, and the results will be certified on Friday, Dec. 15.
The ballot synopsis will ask voters if Pepper should be recalled “for misfeasance, malfeasance, and violation of the oath of office,” for violating the Open Public Meetings Act, refusing to attend council meetings and approving minutes, failing to enact a 2017 budget and instead enacted a temporary budget containing “illegal provisions,” and improperly voted to change Master Development Review Team contracts, “resulting in threatened legal action against the city.”
“If you vote yes, the voters will lose their right to choose a City Council Representative. Instead, the Council and Mayor will choose your representative,” Pepper wrote. “The recall accusations are false and misleading. I have never violated my oath of office and have always placed your interests first. From the start, I have stood up for you. If you want me to continue to do that, please vote no on the recall.”
This announcement comes ahead of the State Supreme Court’s review of the recall case after Pepper appealed the Superior Court’s approval of the charges in May.
The Supreme Court met Sept. 7, but has not made any ruling.
According to Tyler Kirkins, the lawyer representing Taylor and Neighbor to Neighbor, the ruling could have an effect on the election.
He said if some charges are dismissed, signatures may have to be re-gathered and a new election date set, “unless the court deemed the changes to be minor, after a motion and a hearing.”
The courts do not determine if the charges outlined in the recall are factually true or untrue, but if there is enough evidence to support the charges and allow the voters to decide.