Three of Phoenix’s nine City Council members face recall efforts.
A retired attorney filed a recall application in November against Councilman Michael Nowakowski over a traffic-calming project in a historic neighborhood.
North Phoenix residents did the same to Councilwoman Peggy Neely on April 5 over a controversial road project near a swath of the Phoenix’s Sonoran Preserve.
And a group called “Save Phoenix Taxpayers” filed recall papers against City Councilman Sal DiCiccio on April 8 over state legislation DiCiccio wrote that could threaten some municipal jobs.
The Arizona Republic reported that It remains unclear whether any of the efforts will make it to the ballot and force a sitting council member into a recall election.
No one in Phoenix ever has lost his or her office in a recall election.
Richard Gayer has submitted more than 5,000 signatures as part of his recall petition against Nowakowski. Gayer is opposed to a traffic-calming project in the Willo Historic District just north of downtown Phoenix, which he says will diminish the value of his home.
Nowakowski argues that a majority of Willo residents support the project and is confident he’ll survive a recall. “As long as you’re doing the right thing, and you’re listening to the community, that’s all that matters,” Nowakowski said. “Mr. Gayer is just one voice.”
Phoenix officials are reviewing the signatures Gayer submitted, acting City Clerk Cris Meyer said. He said if the signatures are valid, Nowakowski’s name could appear twice on the Aug. 30 ballot — once in a recall election to determine if the councilman should serve the final nine months of his term, and another as Nowakowski runs to serve another four-year term serving District 7.
Nowakowski said the recall against Neely is “purely political” because she’ll likely run for mayor. .
Neely has an exploratory committee for mayor and must resign if she becomes an official candidate. If she does resign, there won’t be a recall.
Many supporting Neely’s recall have already thrown political support to mayoral candidate Wes Gullett, a potential rival to Neely if she runs for mayor.
“Some of the dates are curious, but I still say it’s a democratic process and we should let it work its way through,” Neely said about the recall effort.
Clif Freedman, president of the Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association, said the recall effort is about Neely’s support of Sonoran Boulevard, a road that neighbors in north Phoenix say will bring traffic congestion to the area.
The group must collect 2,925 signatures by Aug. 3 to trigger a recall election.
DiCiccio has been fundraising since last fall, preparing for labor leaders to launch a recall against him.
His push for limited government and privatization of city services has been controversial, with city employees protesting and calling for his ouster.
He penned state legislation that would require Phoenix to competitively bid city services costing more than $75,000. Public-employee unions have protested the proposal.
DiCiccio said the recall effort is an intimidation tactic.
“I was told if I don’t back off, then this is what would be happening,” DiCiccio said. “The only thing is I don’t get intimidated.”