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Recall petitions fill up

John Colson

Organizers now say they have more than 1,600 signatures on petitions aimed at recalling Pitkin County Commissioner Mick Ireland – nearly 300 more than are needed to force a recall election.

At a press conference on the steps of the county courthouse, spokesman David Schoenberger said Monday the Committee to Recall Mick Ireland will continue to gather signatures until the deadline in early May.

Schoenberger said after the press conference that the petitions will not be turned in until May 5, though the actual deadline is on May 8. The county clerk must verify the signatures.

He also announced at the conference that the recallers still have not found a candidate to stand for election, should the voters recall Ireland from office.

He added, “We expect that candidates from District 2 will surface by themselves with separate individuals running their campaigns. This group has done its work.”

Schoenberger also reported that the committee has so far reported a total of $7,690 in contributions, of which $4,698 has been spent on advertising its campaign.

The press conference was called, according to a written statement read by Schoenberger, “to explain our position for the days to come and dispel any rumors that the community may be hearing as to specific direction the recall group may have in the immediate future.”

In his statement, Schoenberger reiterated the group’s assertion that “this recall was never about land use; it was always a recall backed by misuse of the community’s trust.”

The recall campaign began shortly after the county commissioners initiated a six-month development moratorium on large homes and subdivisions. But the recall committee has repeatedly said the campaign is fueled by what Schoenberger termed Ireland’s “aggressive, belligerent nature” and “his temperament … toward the community.”

A focal point of the recall drive has been an e-mail message sent by Ireland that identified a number of developers and landowners as “liars and greedheads,” whom he felt had misled the county in one way or another on land-use issues.

Members of the recall group, starting early in the campaign, denied their effort is based on differing philosophies concerning development and growth, though Ireland and his supporters claim that is the case.

“This recall is not just about the moratorium. It’s about a pattern of behavior that extends well beyond the moratorium,” said former recall committee attorney and member Millard Zimet.

When asked Monday by a local columnist whether he felt Ireland’s behavior had changed since his most recent election, in 1998, Schoenberger said he had “no comment” on the matter.

Schoenberger said the recallers feel Ireland, aside from being rude, is bent on “influencing his fellow [board] members,” using his “tactics to poorly direct his fellow county commissioners, appointed boards and staff.

By distracting them into forming alliances on various issues, they ultimately harm the community without each of them really understanding how they have been manipulated” by Ireland.

None of the county commissioners were present at the conference, and could not be reached for comment.


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