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Attempt to recall city councilors fails

1,011 signatures were needed to recall Matt Langer, Dave Grant


A move to recall two members of the Sherwood City Council has failed after the petitioner didn’t submit the required number of signatures by the required deadline.

Sherwood resident Jim Claus, a frequent critic of Sherwood city government, had sought to recall Councilors Matt Langer and Dave Grant because of what he called their “blatant disregard of the will of the voters.”by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Matt Langer

City Recorder Sylvia Murphy said the measure couldn’t move forward because the deadline for the petition, which required signatures from 1,011 registered voters, wasn’t received by Jan. 13.

Previously, Claus and his wife, Susan, approached the Sherwood City Council requesting that so-called “e-sheets,” a way of collecting signatures through online methods, could be used as part of the signature-gathering process. Murphy explained that she had several issues with the e-sheets including the fact that in 2013 there were no official e-sheet forms available for use by local jurisdictions and also that the city’s municipal code requires that the circulator of the petition must witness the person who signs it.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Dave Grant

The state allows use of e-sheets in recall elections and Oregon counties do as well although Murphy said a poll of other counties showed that no Oregon counties have yet had e-sheets submitted for a measure.

However, Susan Claus said during a Jan. 7 City Council meeting that she believed the council had the ability to allow e-sheet signing, overriding Murphy’s interpretation. Murphy is also the city’s official elections officer. The council took no action on the request but Sherwood Mayor Bill Middleton suggested the council could sit down in the future and talk about whether to allow the e-sheet signatures.

Jim Claus has said that intimidation is one reason why the signature-gathering method wasn’t successful, pointing in part to an incident that occurred last June. According to a Sherwood police report, two residents complained about being electronically harassed by Councilor Langer via email. The individuals specifically said they were uncomfortable with emails from Langer asking them to be part of a dunk tank fundraiser at Sherwood High School. Langer was warned by police that if he continued with the emails, he could be arrested.

“There is no crime,” wrote the officer. “All parties were told to block each other from being contacts.”

Meanwhile, in December, Sherwood police investigated a call regarding a second-degree burglary and criminal mischief at the home of the Clauses. According to the police report, someone entered a building on the Claus’ property and defaced two signs supporting Mayor Middleton and spray-painted rude language on one of the walls of the building.

Both Councilors Langer and Grant said they were pleased that the recall effort wouldn’t be moving forward.

Grant said he honestly didn’t think most people thought the recall effort would go anywhere.

“I’m just looking forward to moving ahead,” said Grant. He said after 12 years on the City Council he would not seek another term when his expires on Dec. 31.

Langer said he’s now hoping to redirect his efforts on working on such projects as the new community center and didn’t think the recall effort “stood a chance from the start.”

“It’s just nice to have that behind us,” Langer said of the recall attempt.

A previous measure to recall Langer failed to move forward in August after failing to collect the needed signatures. That effort was tied largely to an announcement that Walmart would locate in Sherwood on land own by the Langer family. Langer serves as a spokesman for the family’s real estate company, Langer Family LLC, though he holds no voting power.

Langer said he has yet to decide whether to run for reelection in November.




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