“The group needed to obtain 1,292 signatures (25 percent of the registered voters in District 5) to qualify the recall for the ballot,” Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer said.
POW Vice President Mark Baird clarified that the movement was not a POW campaign.
Baird, who is also a member of the recall committee, told the Daily News that he and other members of the committee felt the recall was necessary because Armstrong had “failed to adequately represent her constituents,” mainly on issues of water and property rights, but also in a general sense.
Baird said that Armstrong makes statements, sends emails and writes a newspaper column but, in his opinion, has failed to directly engage her constituents on a personal level. He said she hasn’t organized town hall meetings or informational sessions with landowners to properly inform them of state and federal regulatory issues of importance to her constituents.
POW President Liz Bowen was also involved in the recall process, circulating petitions and posting the official list of grievances against Armstrong on the Klamath Basin in Crisis website, www.klamathbasinincrisis.org.
Bowen said she was pleased with the number of signatures gathered under the circumstances. She said the group ran into challenges with cold weather, sickness among recall committee members and holiday commitments.
Baird told the Daily News he feels that even an unsuccessful recall effort will affect the public discourse and help advance the message that elected officials must represent their constituents or they will be held accountable.
“We weren’t being vindictive against Marcia Armstrong,” committee member Tom Pease said. If we could recall the whole board we would.”
Pease said the recall campaign targeted Armstrong specifically because those involved in the effort were residents of her district.
Mismanagement of the county finances and a failure to force governmental coordination on Klamath dam removal are the biggest issues, Pease said. Both Pease and Bowen said there were a lot of misconceptions about how the recall process works.
“Passing the recall doesn’t automatically fire her,” Pease said. “It just forces her to run against someone else to keep her position. The board has gotten too comfortable and self-important and they’ve made a lot of mistakes because of it.”
“I have been greatly encouraged by the expressions of support by so many of my constituents in reaction to this recall effort,” Armstrong said in December. “It was only a year ago that the voters returned me unopposed to another term. This effort has been initiated by a very small group of people.”
Armstrong said on Monday she is pleased that the recall effort was not successful but had no further comment.
The petition will be kept confidential. According to California government code section 6253.5, names of signatories to a recall petition “... shall not be deemed to be public record and shall not be open to inspection except by the public officer or public employees who have the duty of receiving, examining or preserving the petitions ...”