Davis Recall Heads to Supreme Court

And justices are not taking callers.

At its May 1 meeting, the State Supreme Court will take up a citizen proposal to recall Port Commissioner Pat Davis. But the court will not hear oral arguments in the case, a common decision if justices feel they've been adequately briefed and there aren't any outstanding issues. Chris Clifford, the Renton resident behind the recall effort and a high-school history teacher who's representing himself, had hoped for the opportunity to argue the case in front of the court. However, Clifford says, "Anything that gets this moving is good. I'm curious to see what they'll do." State law says you must show malfeasance in order to mount an effort to kick a public official out of office. Here, Clifford says Davis violated the public trust when she attempted to orchestrate a payout, behind closed doors, for retiring Port of Seattle CEO Mic Dinsmore. King County Superior Court then gave Clifford the go-ahead to start collecting signatures for the commissioner's recall last May, but Davis appealed the decision to the state's highest court. If the Supremes reject Davis' appeal (a verdict could come as early as May 1), Clifford will have six months to collect the 150,000 signatures needed to put the issue to a public vote. Clifford says collecting signatures will be a challenge, and he knows that Davis, up for reelection next year, is unlikely to run again anyway. Still, he hopes to send a message, with the court's permission. "Another day she's still in office is one day too many," he told SW earlier this year (see "Here Comes Pat!" in the March 19 issue). Former State Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge says there aren't any tea leaves to be read concerning the court's decision to rule on the case without hearing oral arguments. "It could mean that their decision will be simple and straightforward either way," he says. "It's hard to draw anything from it."

 
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