We haven't reached Helen Collins yet, but we do have a little more information:
• City Clerk Sarah Johnson says that the recall organizers have the petitions and may already be collecting signatures. She notes that when and if petitions are turned in, and it's verified that enough valid signatures have been gathered, she will give a certification to Council President Keith King. At that point, Collins will be allowed five days to resign. If she does not, the recall will move forward.
Should the organizers take longer to turn in petitions than currently planned (January 8), it is possible that a special election could be called for the recall.
• Victor Torres, one of the recall organizers, says he decided to ask for the recall after consulting with Deborah Hendrix and reviewing information. He says he was put off by Collins in the past, claiming she barely acknowledged him at a community event when he greeted her, and never returned a phone call he made to her about pot holes. He says he was also upset that Collins has not supported stormwater funding measures.
“When you're making these decisions just off of your personal beliefs and your special interests than you’re not truly representing the citizens of this district,” he says.
• Council President Keith King says he thinks the effort to recall Collins is a sign of a "very aggressive" political climate, noting he's heard of similar efforts aimed at him in the past. He says he thinks that some may feel that Collins is "too conservative" for the district, but says she was elected fairly and it's "too bad" she's being targeted.
"I think she’s been working hard for the district,” he says.
——- ORIGINAL POST, TODAY, 1:04 P.M. ———
An official effort is underway to oust District 4 City Councilor Helen Collins, city documents confirm.
Former Harrison School District 2 board president and rival Council candidate Deborah Hendrix, Harrison Board President Victor Torres and Harrison Coordinator of Student Services Woody Longmire have filed an affidavit with the City Clerk's Office seeking petitions to recall Collins in the upcoming April city election.
The trio state that their reasons for the recall is their shared belief that:
• Collins has not represented the best interests or basic concerns of her constituents
• Collins has created gridlock and infighting by opposing initiatives such a stormwater funding effort, "improved oversight" of Colorado Springs Utilities, a plan to "tackle downtown homelessness," and economic development projects (this likely refers to the City for Champions projects).
• That she has embarrassed the public with her support and friendship for a criminal suspect (presumably they are referring to convicted murderer Bruce Nozolino) and by associating with a convicted felon "who served time for tax evasion" (presumably they are referring to Douglas Bruce).
The affidavit states, "She is out of step with voters and has let herself be manipulated by a handful of extreme activists pushing a fringe agenda while ignoring mainstream issues facing her own district."
The petitioners need 1,485 valid signatures by January 8 to force the recall for the April 7 election. The City Clerk will verify the signatures and notify the petition committee on sufficiency of the petitions.
We'll update this blog today as we learn more.
You can read the full affidavit here: