Saturday, June 2, 2007
Councilor Harris May Face Recall
By Jim Ludwick
Journal Staff Writer
City Councilor Don Harris may face a recall attempt.
Harris, chairman of the council's budget committee, is a first-term councilor representing District 9 in the far Northeast Heights.
A group of residents in his district is planning to submit paperwork to the city clerk Monday to launch a petition drive seeking a recall election, said Jim Lowe, spokesman for the group.
Harris "has been totally nonresponsive to his constituents," Lowe said.
In particular, Lowe said, Harris favored delaying a tax cut so the city could give $9 million to Bernalillo County to help with jail expenses.
The $9 million was vetoed this week by the mayor. A veto override will be considered by city councilors at a meeting on Monday.
Lowe said Harris "is wasting taxpayers' money."
"We have been contacted by enough irate people that we are very confident Mr. Harris will be recalled," Lowe said.
Harris said he expects to prevail.
He said a recall attempt "is something no councilor enjoys going through, but in the end it will give me an opportunity to discuss everything I've done for the district."
Harris was elected in 2005 in a runoff election against incumbent Tina Cummins.
To get a recall question on the ballot, his critics would need valid petition signatures from 922 people the equivalent of 25 percent of the people who voted in the district when Harris was elected.
The issue would go to voters as part of the Oct. 2 election.
To remove Harris, the recall would have to be favored by a majority of District 9 residents voting on Oct. 2.
The number of voters must also equal the majority voting on the day when Harris was elected as a councilor.
If Harris is removed, Mayor Martin Chávez would appoint a replacement.
Harris has been part of a six-member voting block that has opposed Chávez as a veto-proof majority on money issues. Lowe said Chávez is not involved in the recall effort.