State looks in to Cascade Locks recall complaint

October 1, 2011

Recall the recall, says Cody Steelman of Cascade Locks.

Steelman has filed a complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State's office citing what he believes are election law violations by the Five Alarm Recall political action committee.

The complaint by Steelman will have no effect on the Sept. 20 election certification, according to Kim Kean, elections supervisor, who consulted with the Secretary of State's office.

Five Alarm organized the Sept. 20 recall of Mayor George Fischer and council members Kevin Benson, Don Haight and Tiffany Pruit. Voters approved the recall of all four officials, by a general 53-47 percent margin.

(Haight resigned Sept. 23; however, the other officials technically remain in office until certification of the election by the county, scheduled for Oct. 10. The Cascade Locks Council, with Fischer, Benson and Pruit in place, met Monday for what is likely the final time.)

Steelman asks the Secretary of State to recall the recall vote against Fischer, Haight, Benson and Pruit, and asks for a new election in the attempted recall against council member Lance Masters. That petition, filed by Michael Blakley of Cascade Locks, failed in the ballot with Masters retaining his council seat by a 60-40 percent margin.

Kean has until Oct. 10 to complete the certification. However, she said Thursday that she expects to certify the vote by Oct. 3, given that her office would be ready by Sept. 30 to tabulate the 13 challenge ballots that were pulled from the main count on Sept. 20. Challenge ballots include nine which the county needs to verify for correct signatures and addresses associated with the ballots.

The list of challenge ballots also includes four ballots that had been challenged before the election by a citizen who questioned whether those four voters lived in Cascade Locks and could legally cast ballots. Kean said the citizen requested a total of 16 names be examined, but there were only four ballots submitted out of that list.

Steelman said, "The Five Alarm Recall Committee (ran) around saying 'Do not let your vote be taken away from you,' when the fact is they downright stole the votes with untruths and an unlawful campaign. Therefore it is only fitting for me to challenge the unlawful injustices this Five Alarm Recall Committee has committed."

Steelman claims that the PAC failed to give its name and address on its mailers, which is required by law.

Investigators are looking into Steelman's charge that the group exceeded the $2,000 in expenditures allowed by law, as well as "undue influence" in campaign materials, and whether some materials were properly labeled, according to Communications Manager Andrea Cantu.

Undue influence charges include serving refreshments at a community meeting sponsored by Five Alarm and distribution of emails by former interim city administrator Rich Carson.

Cantu could not comment on the investigation until after its completion, which she said would likely be a month or more. Investigators are still determining the timeline, according to Cantu.

Some of Steelman's allegations, including tampering with public records, are outside the Secretary of State's purview, Cantu said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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