A King County Superior Court judge has approved a petition for an election to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The decision, handed down on Friday, gives petitioners the go-ahead to start gathering the 50,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot and force an election.
The Durkan petitioners’ recall effort, known online as the “Fire the Mayor” campaign, accuses the mayor of “endanger[ing] the peace and safety of the community” by allowing police to “leak false information about fabricated crimes and threats to the media” and issuing a citywide curfew without sufficient notice to the public. The petitioners also accused Durkan of restricting certain property rights in downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of the protests took place.
“Jenny Durkan’s abuses of power, lack of foresight and failure to protect the public — and the peace — in Seattle leaves us with no choice,” petitioner Elliott Harvey wrote in a statement on the campaign’s website. “This is exactly the kind of case a recall is intended to address.”
In a response Saturday, Durkan’s chief of staff, Stephanie Formas, said the mayor “consistently has acted to protect the City’s public health and safety and to respect the constitutional rights to peaceful protesters,” and defended Police Chief Carmen Best, who Durkan believes “has exercised her challenging duties lawfully and appropriately to protect the public peace,” according to the statement.
The court this month held an online hearing on the petition, hearing from the petitioners and from attorney Rebecca J. Roe, who represented Durkan.
In her ruling Friday, Judge Mary E. Roberts dismissed six of the seven charges put forward as “insufficient,” but allowed one — which accuses Durkan of allowing tear gas and other crowd control weapons to be used during the coronavirus pandemic — to proceed “more narrowly than alleged.”
The judge did not rule on whether the allegation was true. “This court’s role in this case is limited,” she wrote. “At this stage of a recall effort, the court is to assume that the Recall Petitioners’ allegations are true, and to determine whether if true, they can support a recall.”
Source: Seattle Times
Image: Seattle Channel