The recall campaign in the City of Manzanita has ended.
By Brian Cameron
“Make no mistake about it, if we had received 300 signatures we would have let the issue go to the ballot but we never expected that kind of response,” said Richard Mastenik, leader of the recent recall campaign.
In late July, Mastenik first decided to take it upon himself to start a campaign that would serve to target every sitting Manzanita City Council member, as well as Mayor Michael Scott.
His reasons were two-fold and one in the same.
Mastenik was unhappy with the way the City of Manzanita was handling the $1.75 million purchase of the Underhill Plaza property for the planned relocation of the Manzanita City Hall. In addition, Mastenik cited an inability for the public to have a democratic say in expenditures of that magnitude. The two concepts, coupled together, were the primary motivators behind the recall effort.
In a previous story in the Headlight-Herald, it was reported Mastenik was specifically unhappy with the $1.75 million dollar amount that the city would both procure loans for as well as utilize the funds generated in the sale of the current city hall building, which comes with a price of approximately $400,000.
Mastenik – now that the Oct. 18 deadline for submitting the required 50 signatures has come and gone – claims his whole effort wasn’t entirely about recalling the members of the city council and the mayor. Instead, he cites his overall reasons extend on a much further timeline and that the purchase of the Underhill Plaza was just another example of a perception of city overreach.
“Recalls have a disadvantage of being an indirect or reactive response to abuses by our city council, they are fundamentally unpopular,” said Mastenik in a letter sent to supporters and interested parties. “Very rarely do recalls create a positive remedy to the gregarious behavior of the city councils regardless of the outcome of the vote.”
According to Mastenik, the requirement of collecting 50 signatures wasn’t the concern. He cites having more than the required amount, but Mastenik felt that 50 wasn’t what he wanted to see, he felt a stronger voice to the local government would be with as much as 25 percent of Manzanita’s overall population of registered voters. That number, according to Mastenik is 128.
“Although we came very close to getting this minimum number of 128 signatures we did not quite make it,” said Mastenik. “Therefore, I’ve made the choice to not submit the recall petitions for signature verification or allow them to proceed to ballot.”
In the same letter addressed to interested parties and supporters of the recall campaign, Mastenik suggests that his effort has not gone unnoticed and that if the support for further action against the city remains then the possibility for the formation of a focus group to create a charter amendment initiative petition to offer to the voters could re-start around mid-January.
A Charter Amendment, as listed under Oregon Revised Statute 203.725, is a proposed amendment to a county charter, whether proposed by the governing body or by the people of the county in the exercise of the imitative power, shall embrace one subject and matters properly connected therein.
“[Charter Amendment Initiatives] are a much more positive, proactive, and effective way to address chronic unauthorized city council spending,” said Mastenik. “An important qualitative difference between a recall and an initiative is that the initiative directly addresses municipal policy and does not contain a negative personal component like the recall. This is the reason an initiative petition to the voters is much more acceptable in a small town like ours.”