Columbia\'s most diverse ward facing another recall effort

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COLUMBIA - For the third time in recent years, and the second since 2012, the Columbia City Council first ward representative is facing a recall effort at the hands of constituents. 

After the Columbia City Council meeting on October 20, voters from the city's first ward began publicly calling for the recall of Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick.

The movement began after Chadwick voted against the city's proposed marijuana cultivation and decriminalization amendment Monday. As a part of her campaign, Chadwick supported the idea of medical marijuana and its decriminalization.

"Our main goal is to get Ginny Chadwick out of office," said Jake Loft, a representative for the recall effort. "If that doesn't quite work out, we want to show future people on the city council their constituents votes do matter, and our opinions are something they should take into consideration before they vote on ordinances they say they will vote on, but don't."

"I'm not surprised," Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick said. "You can't start a recall petition until six months in [to a term]. Everyone said, 'As soon as she's six months in, she's going to have a recall petition.'"

The recall group's effort comes at the earliest possible time, per city ordinance, six months and six days according to Chadwick (elected April 2014): 

Section 140. - Limitation on Recall.
No officer shall be subject to recall within six (6) months after induction into office, nor during the last six (6) months of the officer's term. If an officer is retained in office by any recall election, the officer shall not be subject to recall within a period of six (6) months thereafter.

(Ord. No. 15113, § 1, 1-16-97)

"My ward is so dynamic," Chadwick said. "Many of the students fall into the first ward, we also have the lowest income ward of any ward, then we have some of the biggest financial stake holders ... I'm thoughtful of every vote I make, and it's not going to make everyone happy."

Chadwick's predecessor, Fred Schmidt, was amid a recall effort in 2012 over his support of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) and blight issue. For Schmidt's recall, constituents needed 300 signatures to start the process to remove the city council member. The number "300" was based off of 30-percent of the total number of ballots cast in the first ward election. The recall effort failed to get enough signatures for a recall vote. 

Recall First Ward Councilperson Ginny Chadwick would need 249 signatures to move forward. If that number is reached, the petition would likely be placed on Columbia's April 2015 ballot.