January 26, 2006
Recall the Seattle City Council?
I know there are immense barriers to recall an elected official in this state, but can anybody who understands such things weigh in on the legal (if not political) feasibility of meeting the conditions of a recall?
Fact: RCW 49.60.400:
(1) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. Fact
: Councilmembers have stated on numerous occasions that they are predisposed to appoint a "woman of color" to fill the vacant council seat. (relevant quotes here
Fact: the constitutional test for recall [Sec. 33] is that the officer "has committed some act or acts of malfeasance or misfeasance while in office, or who has violated his oath of office", which the statute defines as:
a) Additionally, "misfeasance" in office means the performance of a duty in an improper manner; and
(b) Additionally, "malfeasance" in office means the commission of an unlawful act;
(2) "Violation of the oath of office" means the neglect or knowing failure by an elective public officer to perform faithfully a duty imposed by law.
Of course it's a hypothetical exercise, but it's an intriguing possibility to launch a recall against all eight members of the Seattle City Council for willful violation of state anti-discrimination law. As the New York Times writes today, sometimes even a losing battle to draw the public's attention to an important principle is worth fighting.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at January 26, 2006
03:46 PM | Email This
1. What's the City's Office of Civil Rights view of this?
My guess their view is that it is great. What an incredible show of diversification! MLK would be proud!
3. This is an interesting turn of events.
Discrimination has always had the potential to be a 2-sided sword hasn't it.
Perhaps prior to a recall campaign, the appropriate course of action would be to find some well-qualified applicant who failed to make the cut because he was a white male to file a Civil Rights lawsuit....perhaps RICO. That would tie 'em up in knots for awhile!!
My guess is the City of Seattle has all kinds of adopted personnel policies for hiring etc. that they have probably violated. This is serious!!!
The key would be to start with a qualified candidate (one with better qualifications than some of those included in the 6) to be the damaged party.
why don't you try another way to express your disagreement with council instead of lazily using "MLK".
Just a sugguestion. I too think council is patronizing and silly for its "diversity" selection process. Would not besmerck Dr King's name and effots to descibe stupidity of City Council.
Fred try again please. Why, because your comments come off as if you think America would be a better place had Dr King NOT lived.
5. It does appear that the Seattle City Council has conspired to violate the Civil Rights of many applicants with their blatant racial profiling of applicants.
Another interesting avenue to explore would be to do a Public Records Request on ALL communication received (e-mails, letters, phone calls etc) to see if the same wrongheaded LEFTIST Council members violated the Open Public Meetings Act by having some sort of secret chain communication not shared with the public on this plot to fill the position based on gender. If the majority of Council members have engaged in communication regarding this appointment directly....or indirectly via Chain Communication.....that's an even bigger boo-boo!!!!
6. "Once at city" -- I can't be certain what Fred meant with the MLK reference, but I interpreted it as a way of pointing out that the City Council dishonored Dr. King's legacy.
An interesting theoretical discussion, one which fortunately I don't have to worry about one way or other - directly.
The one warning I'd give is that if you plow under the current crop, what bad weeds would sprout in their place. I know it might sound shocking but I'm sure there are plenty of worse council candidates that would likely take their place.
Might have a situation like the French Revolution in 1789 or the Russian Revolution in 1917. And no, we don't need any offers of assistance from folks here about the proper way to build a guillotine :-)
8. Heck, why not just sic the ACLU on 'em? Or simply arrest them if they broke the law. It's our money being spent on lawsuits and damages, just arrest them.
I hope you are right and I am wrong. If so, Fred I am sorry.
Once At City
10. Would a judge promising NOT to hear a case that presented a conflict of interest because he owned a large part of that business and then cynically reneging on that promise ( like Samuel Alito did ) qualify as the sort of "misfeasance" that you so abhor, or is it OK if it's done by a conservative?
It is an intriguing idea (recall effort) but let's be realistic - it would never gain traction in the Peoples Republik of Seattle. The reason: lack of public outrage.
Witness the quality of commentary from your other thread:
"Neither condone or disagree with the council's actions. I simply thing (sic) much ado about nothing is being made here."
I would imagine that to be indicative of the degree of witlessness of your typical Seattlunatic. "I don't care because it hasn't been jammed into my eye socket".
Who cares if a Republican doesn't get a fair shot?
Who cares if a white person doesn't get a fair shot?
Who cares if a male doesn't get a fair shot?
Who cares if the council tramples all over the letter of the law when they were being called to a "higher purpose" (packing the council). While your reportage of the arduous interview and examination hearings was humorous (why do I get the impression that the questions ranged from "What is your favorite color?" to "Do rainy days make you sad?")
Seattle was a nice town (once upon a time)....now it's just an open sewer.
12. This makes me glad idon't live in Seattle!!!
13. If they actually do it (ie, hire a woman-of-color over an equally qualified albino man) then they should get busted. (a) and (b) sound like they actually hafta do it, not just talk about it. What a lame-brained bunch this must be, to actually think that diversity can be measured by skin color and gonads.
At the time of the California recal petition, there was a good op-ed piece on the WA recall statute (here
). It appears that the recall statute's wrongdoing standard is a difficult one to meet and it further requires a judge's approval to go forward. Unfortunately, the likelihood of finding a judge that will rule that the City Council's action were a willful violation of the anti-discrimination statutes is not great.
15. Silly bloggers! These rules are made for people with values and integrity, not the members of the city council or the ACLU.
In response to Stephan's question:
The recall process requires a credible claim that wrong doing has taken place by the elected official. A judge weighs this claim and their decision can be appealed all the way up to the state Supreme Court. As in the West recall.
The court does not judge if the claim is true only that if true it meets the tests quoted in the original post.
Now the question becomes is a race/gender based appointment to an elected office violative of any law, or are elected officials allowed to use whatever standards they prefer -- even standards that conflict with I-200-- when filling an elected office.
And the answer is...the appointment process is viewed differently from a hiring process.
Candidly, even if these comments were made about a hiring decision -- let's say Chief of Police-- I doubt any judge in King County would accept it as grounds for a recall.
It will come as no surprise that Washington's elected officials have made the recall process VERY difficult to use.
Rev A.A., your comment re: Alito and Vanguard is so far from the actual fact set, I'm not sure where to begin.
#1 Sam Alito owned $300K of MUTUAL FUND SHARES out of a mutual fund which probably had tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in it.
#2 Alito owned shares in a mutual fund, NOT ownership in the lawsuit party, Vanguard. Please reread what I wrote so you understand this. It has been widely reported in the press with comprehensive explanations. I even thought it was basic enough that Ted Kennedy could understand, but, once again, I'm wrong.
#3 Reneging on a promise, eh? He spoke to this issue 12 years prior to it coming before him in one variation or another. When noted by the plaintiff, Alito recused himself from the case--contrary to the advice that the majority of legal scholars recommended. The case was remanded to a new set of 3rd Circuit judges. Guess what? They decided EXACTLY how Alito and his colleagues had previously decided.
Stop the Alito bashing. We're talking about the disaster we call the current state of the City Council. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, and this will be evidenced when these "leaders"--to paraphrase Sen. Graham--get their clocks cleaned over their ridiculous bungling of this appointment. Both the P-I and the Times have come out against this mess, and it WILL go into the courts, where there will be a very public airing. Thank Goodness. It will be Reckoning Day for these clowns. Have a pleasant day.
Court Watcher -- thanks for your insights. You obviously have expertise on the subject.
When you say "...the appointment process is viewed differently from a hiring process." that makes sense. What specific statutory exemptions and/or case law precedents would they rely on? Has there ever been an appellate decision on I-200 as it relates to appointments?
19. In my opinion Alphabet Soup has it right. A successful recall requires tremendous outrage among the voters. The legal basis for recall just allows the the process to move forward and often has little to do with a successful recall effort. Without the outrage, fergidaboutit. Been there. Done that... with the SUCCESSFUL 100% recall of the Pasco School Board many moons ago.
I absolutely agree with you about the difficulties and virtual impossibility of a recall campaign. It's a huge mistake to pursue it without some clear-cut misfeasance or malfeasance. That's why I think the more likely steps are:
1) Highly Qualified White Male Candidate denied opportunity based on gender files Civil Rights claim.
2) Efforts are made to show a conspiracy by Council Members to deny that candidate fair and equal treatment.
3) Public Record request of ALL correspondence between Council Members AND from the outside regarding this appointment. Call it a "fishing" expedition.
4) Review tapes of ALL committee and Council meetings where this appointment was discussed.
There may be nothing there except a lot of mouthy gasbagging.....but you never know. Certainly without clear & convincing evidence of mis-- or malfeasance in the form of some underlying action there is no hope of a recall.
21. Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
In our time political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
And most apropos to the discussion at hand...
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
The prescient, George Orwell
The appointment process for non partisan vacancies is set forth in RCW 42.12.070 -- and to my knowledge not subject to limits in any other way. The statute doesn't impose any restrictions on the rationale(s) used in the appointment process.
Government hiring decisions are controlled by a host of statutes and WAC's. But you didn't need me to tell you that...
I can't find any case law governing non-partisan vacancies. Which is at least partial proof of the above.
No controlling law = no grounds for suit = *fewer* law suits.
Of course a court would likely find a way to punish a city council that so publicly announced their intention to appoint only a white male to a post.
23. Ask them for the qualifications matrix they used for this decision. They will Dummy up something weighted towards the candidate they chose, but it would be awful fun to read!
24. Do you think that Judge Bridges would rule against them ? OR a better chance may be had by a civil suit filed by a number of the other WASP male candidates who were rejected ?
RCW 42.12.070, Filling nonpartisan vacancies, starts: A vacancy on an elected nonpartisan governing body of a special purpose district where property ownership is not a qualification to vote, a town, or a city other than a first class city or a charter code city, shall be filled as follows unless the provisions of law relating to the special district, town, or city provide otherwise:
As Seattle is a First Class City as defined in RCW 35.01.010: A first class city is a city with a population of ten thousand or more at the time of its organization or reorganization that has a charter adopted under Article XI, section 10, of the state Constitution.
The document that we should be looking at is the Charter of the City of Seattle, specifically Article XIX, Officers; Terms and Vacancies, Sec. 6., Vacancies, B. Mayor and other elective offices.
Now the question is - how does RCW 49.60.400 apply to the City Charter?
26. What more do we need to see? If they can't follow their own pledge to not discriminate on the basis of color, etc. then give 'em the boot. They can't claim non-discrimination while discriminating the heck out of their council replacement pick. Clearly, men were not ever really in the running and anyone who wasn't 'of color' never really had a chance.
Okay, a little more research turns up:
Personnel Rule 1.1 - Workplace Harassment
SMC 4.04.050 and subsequent revisions thereto, Rule-making Authority
SMC 4.80.020 and subsequent revisions thereto, Affirmative Action Plan—Policy
SMC Chapter 14.04 and subsequent revisions thereto, Fair Employment Practices Ordinance
Council Resolution 30291 and subsequent revisions thereto, Workplace Harassment Policy and Investigation Procedures
Mayor's Executive Order Affirming All Employees' Right to a Workplace Free from Harassment
Title VII, Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.
RCW 49.60, Discrimination—Human Rights Commission
the url for this entry is here.
Of course, checking SMC 4.80.020 reveals The Affirmative Action Plan Ordinance, which starts out: "It is the policy of the City to provide a workplace for its employees
that is free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex,
marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political
ideology, age, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, or the
presence of any sensory, mental or physical handicap." and then promptly goes into "It is also the
policy of the City to take strong affirmative action to remedy the
effects of past discrimination against minorities, women, handicapped
and older workers, and to avoid practices which are suspect and
capable of abuse or which have an adverse impact on the opportunities
of such groups where it reasonably can to produce an efficient system.
By doing so, the City will then be able to provide equal employment
and advancement opportunities for all qualified persons and obtain a
workforce in which such groups are fairly represented."
Now, compare that to SMC 3.110.260 Discrimination prohibited.
A. Neither council membership nor constituency membership may
directly or indirectly be based upon or limited by age, race, color,
religion, sex, national origin, marital status, parental status,
sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology,
creed, ancestry, or the physical handicap of a capable person
presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability;
provided, that council positions on a public corporation emphasizing
Indian arts or culture or services and programs oriented toward
American Indians may be filled by persons selected by organizations
whose funding is substantially derived from public or private grants
or federal appropriations available only to organizations controlled
by American Indians.
SMC 14.04.030 Definitions -
F."Discrimination," "discriminate," and/or "discriminatory act"
means any act, by itself or as part of a practice, which is intended
to or results in different treatment or differentiates between or
among individuals or groups of individuals by reason of race, color,
age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity,
political ideology, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin; or
the presence of any sensory, mental or physical handicap.
28. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A COPY OF THE DISNEY MOVIE "THE SONG OF THE SOUTH." ...I WANT TO GO BACK AND START ALL OVER AGAIN AND I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A GOOD STARTING POINT.
When the Civil Rights Act was passed back in the 60's employers and Republican politicians informed the world that you could pass all the laws you wanted: They were going to hire who they wanted to ( not black folks, that's for sure ). And that's just what they did . They conrinued to give preferential treatment to white males in all aspects of employment. You would expect that Republicans of the time, presumably as driven by "principles" as our supermoral Stefan is, would have mocked and railed against the powers that be who allowed such a system to exist. Yet, surprisingly, there was not a whisper of protest from the right on this sad state of affairs.
So, in order to put some teeth into the Civil Rights Act, quotas were established. If a business does not want to follow the quotas, they are "free" not to. They just won't get any government contracts. It's similar to the "freedom" an under-employed person has to work for the likes of Wal-Mart or not. The government is not twisting your arm to follow the quotas. You , as a business, are free to follow them or not ... as you may choose.
No, I don't think quotas is the motivation for your caviling. You want to excite the paranoia of white males that they are being unfairly excluded so Republicans can garner more votes.
Once again, instilling fear is the conservative agenda, because people who fear loss vote conservative -- even if it's not in their interests.
30. It appears the KLOWNpreacher is the one suffering from paranoia here, doesn't it.
31. Rev, I'm the asshole calling for a lawsuit and have many adopted sisters "of color". In fact, I'm adopted myself. So I call BULLSHIT on your little fallacy because I am a Libertarian. I want the best person who will waste the least amount of your HARD EARNED tax dollars. End of the world, right? Why don't you come show up and interview my family, you racist prick? You won't because you believe selection criteria that includes race and ethnicity is okay, because you are a racist.
Aaron - headlice (AKA Da Rev) is only an empty-headed Mockingbird (actually more of a Dodo!). It doesn't have an original thought in it's pointy little head, and only strives to disrupt. It will get its just rewards in due time.
As I said earlier, as much as I would LOVE to see the entire council tossed out on their collective fat arses, we all know it ain't gonna happen.
You obviously have chutzpa and to that I say more power to ya (even if you are Libertarian ;'}
I hope you don't give up on the idea of public service - crap-holes like Seattle sorely need folks like you!
Aaron: What in the name of Almighty God are you talking about? According to your reasoning, because your adoptive sisters are women of color, then I, the earnest Rev.A.A. Tappman: Anabaptist, am a racist.
My Hispanic brother-in-law says YOU, Aaron, are the racist -- not me.
The point is this: If conservatives and conservative businessmen had faithfully tried to follow fair-hiring practices after the passage of the Civil Rights Act there would never have been any need for quotas. You conservatives have only your own shortsighted stupidity to blame for these quota-mad political-correctizoids that plague us to this very day. Conservatives created them with their foot-dragging obtuseness and intransigence in the 60's and 70's.
You are a dope,Aaron.
You are mighty confused there pal. Conservatives were the driving force in making civil rights come to pass. Read up on your history a little and quit mouthing liberal democrat platitudes.
The resistance to change regarding civil rights especially during the 60's in the north was far less than that in the southern states and the southern resistance came entirely from leftist democrats.
Ever heard of George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, or Robert KKK. Byrd and the Dixiecrats?
You are making gross misrepresentations either because you don't know any better, or because you are a partisan. You should know better, especially since you call yourself a "baptist".
-Ever heard of George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, or Robert KKK. Byrd and the Dixiecrats?-
What school did you go to? Those men you name were known then, and are known now (the one thats still alive) as the EXTREME RIGHT WING congressmen of their times. Seriously, even a high school graduate knows that...but then again, judging from the random commentary I see here, maybe the posters on this site are not from the 'educated washingtonians' crowd, but the 'hillbilly redneck skinhead' crowd.