Kelliher found that the recall committee, Unite Douglas, way of collection of petition signatures was “unreliable” enough to proceed with the election.
The court heard testimony on Wednesday and Friday of last week, before Kelliher rendered his decision.
Ginny Jordan of Unite Douglas said a decision has not yet bbeen made whether to appeal the decision.
An appeal at this time seems unlikely. It would take at least three to four months to mount a successful effort. The next election date would be in November, while the city council elections would only be a few months later in March, 2012.
“I am glad that the judge agreed with us that there was no fraud by the recall petition circulators,” said Jordan.. “But we are disappointed that the judge refused to hear the testimony from the majority of the recall committee’s witnesses (four out of five witnesses), which would have presented the whole picture for the judge. Because the judge refused to hear the testimony of most of our witnesses, we are examining whether or not to appeal the decision,” said Jordan. “The committee is proud that more than 500 people signed the recall petitions. The citizens of Douglas definitely want the mayor to resign or be recalled,” added Jordan.
Gomez filed suit on December 23 against Brenda Aguilar, City Clerk; Christine Rhodes, Cochise County Recorder; Thomas Schelling, Cochise County Elections Officer; and the Cochise County Board of Supervisors, Those four individuals were named in the complaint because they are responsible for authorizing the signatures and recall election.
In the complaint, Gomez claims that signatures on Petition 19 and 38 are invalid because they were not collected by the person named on the petition. Those two petitions have a total of 27 valid signatures, and if the Cochise County Superior Court agrees, it would invalidate the recall because the number of signatures would be under the minimum of 424
In a letter, Gomez states, “ It is my hope that now that this matter has been decided by the court, I can return to focusing all my attention on the problems that affect the citizens of Douglas. I call on the City Council to join with me in addressing the problems that face our community and remind them that this is why we were elected. Budget shortfalls threaten many programs that are essential to the well being of Douglas and I am ready to work with the City Council and community to make sure that we take the most appropriate course of action during these trying times.”
The full text of the letter can be seen on Page A4.