Schwan pulling out all stops to thwart recall effort
By Curtis Riggs | July 22, 2009
Ducharme, sign removed
CAREFREE – Mayor David Schwan is doing all he can to thwart the recently launched recall effort.
Recall David Schwan Treasurer Ryan Ducharme’s ban from collecting petition signatures at the building housing the Carefree Town Hall and Post Office significantly hampered his efforts to collect 203 signatures by Oct. 26.
Ducharme moved quickly to secure office space in a business center at 7202 Ho Road within a couple of days of being banned from the public building.
He hung a banner at the new location to let people know where to find him and is setting appointments with people to sign the petition at the new office. He can be contacted at 480-643-0910 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within 24 hours of the sign going up Town Administrator Gary Neiss ordered Town Marshall Patrick Farmer to remove it.
Ducharme vehemently charged his First Amendment rights were being violated after he was banned from the post office. After he was forced to remove his sign he complained the actions being taken against him were "outlandish.”
"This is political targeting and discrimination," he said. He could see banner signs on other businesses as his was being taken down. "This a pattern of the suppression of my First Amendment rights."
On Monday, Neiss said the sign was removed because it was a political sign and could be no larger than 18- by 24-inches.
"It's not a business, it's a political issue," he said.
Farmer said he removed the sign because it was "too big."
Ducharme's attorney, David Smith, is now in the process of filing an injunction in Superior Court, which would allow Ducharme to return to the post office to continue collecting signatures.
Ducharme intends to sue Carefree over its sign ordinance, which is ambiguous about what political signs are allowed.
Recall David Schwan chairman, and longtime Carefree resident, Rod de Szendeffy, believes the selective enforcement and discrimination against Ducharme will backfire on Schwan and others trying to keep him in office.
"All of the current GOB (Good Ole Boy) activities bring more citizens’ attention to the recall and we welcome their continued efforts," he said.
Ducharme is confident he can obtain the needed 203 signatures within a couple of months despite it being "more challenging" because of the town's recent steps against him.
Anti-recall people are trying to slow down the process so Ducharme does not have enough time to collect the required signatures.
Doug Bitner, the property manager at the town hall/post office, claims to not have received case law about access to public facilities, which Ducharme sent him weeks ago.