Ridiculous recall is over

May 15, 2013 

The actions of a few couldn’t undo the will of many.

And for that, we should all be thankful today in Lee’s Summit.

The recall petition against District 1 City Councilman Rob Binney is officially defunct.

And the five that brought this recall against the first-year councilman – Miranda Finnerty, Amber Hodgson, Julie Kirkpatrick, Patrick Powers and Wesley Riggs – should officially be embarrassed.

This is now the second failed recall attempt of a Lee’s Summit council member in recent memory. In 2007, another ill-fated and ill-informed group tried, unsuccessfully, to oust Kathy Hofmann, who still serves on council as the other District 1 rep.

This is getting to be a game of crying wolf, people. And it has to stop, hopefully with a change to the charter during its next review.

Recall petitions, in the wrong hands, are clearly too easily obtained and filed. The threshold needs to be stringently looked at and modifications made so we do not put another council member through another colossal waste of time.

Fortunately for Binney, his recall effort was largely lifeless, compelled by a few who were solely upset over one vote on Wal-Mart and using that single issue to mount a coup against a new councilman.

Hofmann had to actually endure a vote after the signatures were collected during her recall effort. But she survived after a strong, community-driven endeavor to keep her in office succeeded.

Just as Binney would have had this recall moved ahead.

Fortunately, it did not.

We will never know just how many signatures (they needed 266) this group was able to procure. Or what, if any, they would have been able to accomplish had they gotten past this stage.

None of that matters now.

But what should last, though, are the lessons – both to voters and to the council.

First, single-issue recalls do not work and should not be tolerated by our city and civic leaders.

Second, it’s obvious that it is far too easy to mount this type of a recall.

We are supposed to be looking at new and vigorous leaders to run for city council seats and these recalls only hinder that effort.

The gang of five that mounted this recall against Binney demanded to be heard by him. And, as an elected official, we should expect no less of him, our council and our mayor.

Hopefully, though, those that choose to misuse the recall system also heard this latest lackluster effort loud and clear as well.

Change happens through action and voting, not by throwing out good leaders over a single vote.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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