Our View: Council recall unnecessary

DKS Editors

Five Kent City Council members were targeted by residents with recall petitions in early September. All five had voted for a tax credit reduction for Kent residents who work outside the city, which would have meant an increase in taxes.

However, council voted to repeal the tax credit reduction so that those specific taxes would not increase. Residents are continuing with the recall effort. Some have stated that council does not represent the people well, according to reports from the Record Courier.

In a letter to the Record Courier, Kent Mayor John Fender wrote that recalls should be reserved for unethical or illegal behavior, and not because someone disagrees with council decisions. We agree with him. Recall elections should be reserved for situations that are much more severe than this one.

Now it’s come to the point that three will be recalled in special elections in each of their wards. These include Ward 2 Councilman Jack Amrhein, Ward 5 Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer and Ward 6 Councilwoman Tracy Wallach. The signatures have been certified and special elections may occur in January.

Special elections would waste the city’s taxpayer money that the residents may have been trying to save by disagreeing with the tax credit reduction. Special elections in each ward would cost about $5,000, according to the Record Courier. If residents are complaining about possible tax increases, then why force the city to spend more?

These elections are a waste of time and money. If you want a greater say in council, why not run for a position yourself? Some council members run almost unopposed.

At-large representatives Michael DeLeone and Rick Hawksley were also targeted by recall petitions, but not enough signatures have been certified yet. More signatures have been filed. City-wide special elections could be necessary if all the signatures are certified. The three at-large seats are up for reelection in May, so instead, express your displeasure at the polls. This recall makes little sense to us. There are better and more effective ways for residents to express their discontent with the city government.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.