Recall of Spokane
mayor appears headed to ballot

Election workers
counting signatures on petitions to recall Spokane,
Wash., mayor Jim West expected to verify enough names
Thursday to send the issue to a special election
December 6. More than 10,600 signatures had been
reviewed and accepted as workers began counting Monday. They
expected to reach the 12,567 required to validate by the end
of the day Thursday. Signature gatherers turned in
17,434 names on recall petitions, and about 20% were
not accepted.
West, 55, is accused of misusing his office by
seeking dates from young men over a gay Web site and
offering them gifts, trips, and City Hall positions.
The FBI is pursuing a public corruption investigation. No
criminal charges have been filed.
West's troubles began in May, when Spokane's
daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, began
publishing articles implicating the former state
legislator and sheriff's deputy in child sexual abuse
in the 1970s and of cruising a gay Web site for dates with
young men. West acknowledged having relations with adult
males but vehemently denied sexually abusing children
or doing anything illegal.
If enough signatures are verified, Spokane
County auditor Vicky Dalton will certify the recall
petition Friday and give formal notice to recall
author Shannon Sullivan and West. West would have seven days
to submit a response to the recall ballot language,
which can be up to 250 words long.
Dalton said the special vote-by-mail election
would be held December 6, the last day allowed by law,
to avoid conflicts with ballots from the November 8
general election. The campaign to gather signatures on
recall petitions was led by Shannon Sullivan, an
unemployed single mother who successfully argued her
cause before the state supreme court in August after
West's lawyers appealed the ballot language.
A group called Citizens for Integrity in
Government, which runs the Web
site, has taken over the campaign. State Public
Disclosure Commission reports show that the campaign so far
has been a grassroots affair. The Committee for
Spokane's Progress political action committee, which
supports West, reported the mayor has spent about
$85,000, mostly in lawyer fees, while receiving $1,150 in
campaign contributions.
The pro-recall PAC, called the Recall Signature
Team, raised and spent about $3,500 in cash and had
about $21,600 in donated legal work.
On another front, West's lawyers are seeking to
block public release of the contents of his office
computer hard drive, in part because they contain
material that the public would find "highly offensive." A
hearing has been scheduled for October 12 before Judge
Richard Miller in Adams County superior court. (AP)

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