City Hall

City Will Pay for Conlin Recall Defense

By Erica C. Barnett June 13, 2011

The city council just unanimously approved legislation giving the city authority to pay "the necessary expenses of defending [city council president Richard Conlin] in legal proceedings to determine the sufficiency" of a recall petition against him.

Earlier this month, anti-tunnel and Magnolia neighborhood activist Elizabeth Campbell filed a petition to recall Conlin from office, accusing him of violating the law by signing a draft environmental impact statement on the tunnel; by "colluding" with city attorney Pete Holmes to sue to stop the anti-tunnel referendum from going on the ballot; and by failing to place her anti-tunnel initiative, Initiative 101, on the ballot (a King County Superior Court judge will hear a lawsuit on that initiative this coming Friday).

However, as we've noted, the state constitution requires that recall petitioners prove malfeasance or misfeasance. Before Campbell's campaign can start collecting signatures, a superior court judge must agree that Conlin has violated the law---a high bar to clear, and one reason most recall campaigns never make it anywhere.

Conlin was barred from voting on today's legislation, and tunnel opponent Mike O'Brien (whose aide Esther Handy just took a leave of absence to help manage the anti-tunnel campaign) wasn't at today's meeting.
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