Those hoping to unseat Klamath County Commission Chairman Tom Mallams failed to gather enough signatures to catalyze a recall election.

“In all honesty I don’t see how we’ll make enough signatures to submit,” Ilo Ferroggiaro, who filed the recall petition with his wife, Melissa, in September. “It will take a Christmas miracle to get the number we need.”

That number is 3,426 signatures. The deadline was Wednesday. As of mid-day, Ferroggiaro estimated petitioners and businesses had about 2,500 total.

“I’m obviously not surprised. I knew they were going to come up way short. That’s OK,” Mallams said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m not going to hide from controversy. I think the voters want somebody who is going to stand up for what they believe in. I believe my positions reflect Klamath County as a whole.”

This was the second recall effort against Mallams since he was elected in 2012 and began his term in 2013. The first effort was in summer 2013, and it also failed to garner enough signatures.

“I seem to have a bulls-eye on my back on a number of issues,” Mallams said. “That’s probably because my positions are not what I would call ‘lukewarm.’ I’m going to continue to take stands on issues.”

Marijuana ban ignites fire

The Ferroggiaros filed the recall effort in September just after the commissioners approved a ban on marijuana sales. Even though the recall effort failed, the Ferroggiaros were successful in getting ameasure on the May 2016 ballot asking voters if they want to overturn the county’s ban on marijuana sales.

The couple owns Laughing Lotus Farms, a medical marijuana dispensary they have been trying to open in the county for more than a year.

Despite not succeeding in the recall, Ferroggiaro said he saw the effort as having some success.

“Either way we achieved our goal, which was to make the commissioners face the issues and hold them accountable for their actions,” he said. “We achieved that.”

Upcoming election

Both Mallams and commissioner Jim Bellet are up for re-election on the May ballot. Mallams faces five challengers so far in his race.

Ferroggiaro said many people chose not to sign the recall petition because the election was so close. They did not want to cost the county money of running a recall election.

“I heard that over, and over, and over again,” he said.

Mallams also thought the recall may have helped him. He said constituents voiced their support.

“A lot of people made very positive comments and encouragement,” he said. “The most common theme was, ‘Don’t worry about the recall. It’s never going to go anywhere. You’re supported by the citizens of Klamath County. Keep doing what you’re doing.’”

Democratic process

Mallams emphasized a recall is a citizen’s right.

“I fully support that,” he said. “Fully within their rights to do what they think is right.”

Ferroggiaro also said he was happy to take part in the democratic process.

“It is what it is and democracy will happen,” he said. “It was amazing really to be a part of some kind of democratic action.”


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