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July 21, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Recall effort of Seattle City Council President Conlin: silly

Posted by Joni Balter

Critics of Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin have a right to get angry at him and his politics any time any day.

But even his most ardent detractors should conclude he has not engaged in misfeasance, malfeasance or otherwise violated the law. And certainly not intentionally.

Those are not fancy words tossed about; they are the charter provided threshold for recall.

King County Superior Court Judge Carol Schapira Friday will hear trumped up charges for recall Friday against Conlin filed by anti-tunnel activist Elizabeth Campbell.

Schapira should see this latest missive for what it is: another throw-the-spaghetti-at-the-wall attempt to block the tunnel.

If Campbell and her friends disageree with Conlin’s positions on the issues, they have a mechanism for lodging their disagreement. It's called an election and Conlin is up again in 2013. They should vote him out.

Campbell decided to use the harsh lash of a recall petition to punish Conlin for proceeding on the tunnel environmental impact statement, which is his job, and for asking the city attorney to seek a court ruling on Referendum 1, which, if you think about it,is also his job.

Campbell also believes Conlin was wrong to sign a draft environmental impact statement on behalf of the city. Mayor Mike McGinn pretty much left him no other option. And Conlin did so on the advice of his attorney.


City Attorney Pete Holmes is counsel for the mayor, the city council and the various city departments. Conlin as council president asked him to challenge the validity of Referendum 1, the measure on council process on the tunnel, and he did. He may have missed a step by not having the council pass a resolution to ask the city attorney to proceed before the legal challenge was filed, the council did so after.

But asking one’s lawyer to challenge something that requires council action does not amount to misbehavior or on-the-job funny stuff. He was trying to do his work. And it would be very strange if the judge concluded that any of it was misfeasance, malfeasance or a violation of the law.

The recall petition is a gobbling turkey.

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