Don’t get mad at me...I’m not the one that said it. The city’s own legal counsel said it at Friday’s hearing about the Election Contest. I couldn’t believe it.
Attorney Mike Haman, representing the City of CdA, was dancing fast as he tried to answer a question by Judge Hosack about the City Council's role in the City election.
Mike Haman argued that the City should not be added back into the election lawsuit, saying the City played absolutely no part in the election; that they contracted everything out to the County.
Seasoned Judge Hosack showed his experience and wisdom when he responded to Attorney Haman. The judge calmly asked about the role of the City Council when they acted as the “Board of Canvass”. (This is their official role at a Council meeting six days after the election, where they not only ACCEPTED the election tallies produced by the County, which have since been shown to be inaccurate, but the City Council CERTIFIED the results of the election with a unanimous vote.) It was the lawyer’s answer to the judge’s question that prompted my headline.
Attorney Haman, obviously caught off guard by the judge’s astute question, tried to downplay both the function of the City Council and their responsibility for the CITY election. He said, basically, yes, they were the Board of Canvass and yes they certified the vote tallies but, Attorney Haman said, the City Council was just a “RUBBER STAMP”.
Yes, he actually said that. I think he said it twice. And I agree.
The City neglected their duty to the voters, in my opinion. They didn’t question or scrutinize the election totals, even when two seats were decided by just a few votes: A five vote difference in the Kennedy-Brannon contest and only a 29 vote margin in the Goodlander-Gookin election. No matter. Our City Council approved the election tallies quickly, no questions asked. Rubber Stamp.
The rest of the hearing went well. Courtroom #9 is an unusual set up. The audience sits on benches, like church pews, but they are not split equally down the middle. There’s a narrow section of benches on the left, as you enter the room, and a much bigger section on the right. The City, with the Mayor, some council members, staff, extra city attorneys and a few County staff were in the small section. The crowd supporting the Election Contest, wearing stickers that said “FAIR ELECTIONS”, filled the large area, and extra chairs had to be added. Thanks to the many of you who were able to attend; I think we made a difference.
Here’s a summary of Judge Hosack’s rulings Friday, in layman’s terms:
--The case is going forward. It was not dismissed like Kennedy’s attorney wanted.
--The City of CdA and the City Clerk are back in the lawsuit.
--The bond, which the Kelso-Brannon team already paid to the level of $5,000, will NOT to be increased now, even though the City Attorney Haman requested a substantial addition. The Judge said, Let’s not get distracted by the bond, let’s focus on the merits of the case. Good idea!
It was interesting that the County attorney previously part of this case, Mr. John “Witch Hunt” Cafferty, was not present at the hearing. But County Prosecutor Barry McHugh, who's the boss, was sitting in the audience taking notes. He has not attended the previous hearings in this case, so I was glad to see him there.
Councilman Mike Kennedy, who is still named in this case, was also not present. And after the hearing, on an internet gossip blog, Councilwoman Deanna Goodlander, who attended the hearing, described the citizens crowding the courtroom in support of Fair Elections, as “disrespectful”. Hmm. I was there and didn’t see or hear anything disrespectful. In fact, her comments make me laugh because Deanna is infamous for her rude behavior toward citizens.
This Election Contest is getting more interesting by the day. We are now on the fourth judge in the case, and he looks to be straight forward and in possession of some common sense. Maybe now, finally, County Clerk Dan English will be forced to allow the Election Contest team to LOOK at the election documents from last November. It has been seven months. Open the doors, Dan! These are public documents and WE, the voters, want to know what went on. Let’s let this case be judged on the facts, not the antics and maneuvers of city and county election officials. Please keep in mind the old adage, “Those that have nothing to hide, hide nothing.”