About 200 residents of the Homer area turned out on leap year day to sign on the dotted line in a statewide effort to recall Governor Michael Dunleavy. Signers represented the full political spectrum if the logos on their gear is any indication. They showed up in jackets embroidered with mining company logos, rifle scopes, Grateful Dead skulls and the names of their favorite fishing charters and some came to sign wearing basic Homer fleece. Volunteers wore matching Recall Dunleavy t-shirts. Organizers are headquartered in a cabin on Lake Street in downtown Homer.
Organizers in Homer are aiming to contribute 3000 signatures to the 75,000 they say are needed across the state.
Barbara Haines signed the petition. Haines says, Governor Dunleavy's cuts to the university system and ferries led her to believe that the governor needs to be recalled.
"I find this hard to support, the fact that the governor has not reconsidered that position, seems to indicate that other recourse isn't available," said Haines. Pat Cue is a Recall Dunleavy organizer in Homer. Inside the crowded cabin on Lake Street, Cue didn't talk about budget cuts. She read from a list of actions the governor has taken that organizers say violate the Alaska constitution.
"He violated the separation of powers by improperly using the line item veto to attack the judiciary and the rule of law. He also violated the Alaska constitution. He sent out mailers using state funds that supported his political views," said Cue. She is referring to Governor Dunleavy's decision to reduce the fiscal year 2020 Alaska Court System funding in retaliation for an Alaska Supreme Court ruling at odds with his own personal beliefs. The ACLU filed a motion for summary judgment in court last week, arguing that it is the court's duty and authority to declare Governor Dunleavy's actions illegal and to order funding to be restored before the end of the fiscal year.
On June 30th Alaska Supreme court will be ruling on the legality of the recall itself.Chief Justice Joel Bolger has recused himself from the case and retired justice Robert Eastaugh will step in as the fifth justice to rule.
Back at the cabin. Barb and Shawn Uganik signed the recall petition. Barb cites budget cuts as her reason for signing, and Shawn is concerned about accountability inside the recall organization. Barb said,"This governor has done everything he can possibly think of to take away, not enhance what's happening in Alaska.:"
"One thing I'll say is that these guys who are recalling must keep us informed from the day one of whether the planning, how far they've gone to get his signature. She's ready, and then we will be able to respond on time, said Shawn. Organizers, hope to have their signatures collected, approved and on the ballot by August.
Ann Cahn is a volunteer collecting signatures in Homer. Cahn says she is willing to put in the hours to put the recall up to a vote of the people.
"For a couple of reasons," said Cahn,"One is that I feel like I can't do much on a national level, but that I can actually help on the state level. I realized that, you know, there's just a lot of footwork and somebody has to make that effort."
Bruce Robinson signed the petition. His wife, Kathy said, budget cuts are the reason she is signing.
Bruce says he signed because he doesn't want Pebble Mine writing position papers for the State of Alaska. "Interaction with Pebble owners is just, to me, is just completely unbelievable. By contacting them or them contacting him and then using the same letters that they sent to give to the president on the EPA changes. That, to me, is enough to sign right there," said Bruce.
Recall organizers say they collected over 200 signatures this weekend. Volunteer Karen Murdock says they are staffing the cabin at 37 56 Lake street until further notice.
"We'll be here seven days a week, 10 to 1 and 4 to 6, every day, collecting signatures," said Murdock.