I have stayed out of the whole EPC-wetlands mess with the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. (Wayne Garcia’s posts on the subject can be found under his “environment” tag here. You can also find some on Sticks of Fire’s “environment” tag here.)
In general, I understand both sides — we need to protect the environment, while not restricting the rights of property owners to develop their property. It’s a balance that can be hard to identify. And I have no real feeling on whether or not what the Hillsborough County Commission, sitting as the Environmental Protection Commission has decided.
I do not believe this is necessary or a good idea. However, for those who do, here are the high points of the process spelled out by Florida law.
1. Any member of the governing body of a municipality or charter county, hereinafter referred to in this section as “municipality,” may be removed from office by the electors of the municipality. (Hillsborough is a “charter county”, and now any time you see “municipality” below, it includes the county commission.)
2. A petition shall be prepared naming the person sought to be recalled and containing a statement of grounds for recall in not more than 200 words limited solely to the grounds specified in paragraph (b). (See # __ below)
3. If more than one member of the governing body is sought to be recalled, whether such member is elected by the electors of a district or by the electors of the municipality at-large, a separate recall petition shall be prepared for each member sought to be recalled.
4. In a municipality or district of 25,000 or more registered electors, the petition shall be signed by at least 1,000 electors or by 5 percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal election, whichever is greater.
(According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, there are more than 676,000 voters now, and 5% of that is almost 34,000 signatures to recall Norman and Blair. However, the “preceding election” was in 2006, so the applicable number is probably slightly less than that. In a district, it would be roughly 1/3rd of that number or around 11,500 – for Hagan and White)
5. Electors of the municipality or district making charges contained in the statement of grounds for recall and those signing the recall petition shall be designated as the “committee.” A specific person shall be designated in the petition as chair of the committee to act for the committee.
6. All signatures shall be obtained within a period of 30 days, and the petition shall be filed within 30 days after the date the first signature is obtained on the petition.
7.(b) The grounds for removal of elected municipal officials shall, for the purposes of this act, be limited to the following and must be contained in the petition:
3. Neglect of duty;
6. Permanent inability to perform official duties; and
7. Conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.
8. The petition shall be filed with the auditor or clerk of the municipality or charter county, or his or her equivalent, hereinafter referred to as clerk, by the person designated as chair of the committee, and, when the petition is filed, the clerk shall submit such petition to the county supervisor of elections who shall, within a period of not more than 30 days after the petition is filed with the supervisor, determine whether the petition contains the required valid signatures.
9. If it is determined that the petition has the required signatures, then the clerk shall at once serve upon the person sought to be recalled a certified copy of the petition. Within 5 days after service, the person sought to be recalled may file with the clerk a defensive statement of not more than 200 words.
10. The clerk shall, within 5 days, prepare a sufficient number of … copies of the recall petition and defensive statement, as well as the names, addresses, and oaths on the original petition, and deliver them to the person who has been designated as chair of the committee and take his or her receipt therefor. Such prepared copies shall be entitled “Recall Petition and Defense” and shall contain lines and spaces for signatures and printed names of registered electors, place of residence, election precinct number, and date of signing, together with oaths to be executed by the witnesses … . The clerk shall deliver forms sufficient to carry the signatures of 30 percent of the registered electors.
11. Upon receipt of the “Recall Petition and Defense,” the committee may circulate them to obtain the signatures of 15 percent of the electors. (101,000+ for county-wide, 34,000 or so for districts)
12. Within 60 days after delivery of the “Recall Petition and Defense” to the chair, the chair shall file with the clerk the “Recall Petition and Defense” which bears the signatures of electors.
13. The supervisor shall be paid by the persons or committee seeking verification the sum of 10 cents for each name checked.
14. In the absence of a resignation, the chief judge of the judicial circuit in which the municipality is located shall fix a day for holding a recall election for the removal of those not resigning.
Okay, did you get all of that??
First you get 5% of the voters to sign the petition within a 30-day period.
Then the commissioner gets to submit a statement of defense which is put on new petition forms, and you go get 15% of the voters to sign the forms within a 60-day period.
If that happens, only then will there be a recall election.
So, say it with me, kids.
“Not. Gonna. Happen.”