An effort to recall three city council members over the council’s decision to relocate Glazier-Gates Park to make room for development has ended with little support, though organizers pledge to try again at some point in the future.
The Recall Them All Bradenton political action committee was formed in late September in an effort to remove council members Patrick Roff, Gene Brown and Bemis Smith. Mayor Wayne Poston, Ward 5 Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. and Vice Mayor Gene Gallo are up for re-election and not subject to recall.
The PAC is made up of the same group who formed Stone Soup Community Unity and filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to stop the park’s relocation. A judge threw the lawsuit out in May, but the case remains on appeal as the development of Villages at Riverwalk moves forward.
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PAC member Barbara Elliott said the group has collected fewer than 100 signatures.
According to state law, the petition drive would have needed to collect the required signatures within 30 days of the first signature, which Elliott said did not occur until Oct. 17 despite the group holding a petition kickoff event in downtown Bradenton on Oct. 1.
They were afraid that the city would retaliate in some way because they are so vindictive.
Recall PAC member Barbara Elliott on the lack of response to a petition drive
Elliott said that event was designed to make people aware of the recall petition, “but we weren’t taking signatures yet. We heard from a lot of people who are mad, but didn’t want to have that much of their personal information that the petition requires to on record. They were afraid that the city would retaliate in some way because they are so vindictive.”
Had the first petition drive been successful, the group would have then been required to collect 15 percent of registered voters, or about 4,500, within a 60-day period. The signatures would be verified through the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office and sent to a judge to set an election date.
Roff said he’s relieved at the results, but mainly because of the distraction a recall would have caused to the work ahead.
In two years, I’ll be facing the voters for a recall, or what I like to call an election, and I’ll be judged on my performance.
Ward 3 Councilman Patrick Roff
“In two years, I’ll be facing the voters for a recall, or what I like to call an election, and I’ll be judged on my performance,” Roff said. “I abide by the rules and for me personally, I’m gearing up and planning to run for one more term. I have the wheels in motion for that campaign and if I had to turn that machine on, I would, but I would rather focus on more important things, like the redevelopment of 14th Street.”
Brown said he’s all for the democratic process, “But I knew we didn’t do anything wrong and I’m glad others see that, too.”