Return to post office sends recall numbers skyward

By Curtis Riggs | August 5, 2009

recall signerRecall David Schwan's Ryan Ducharme talks with Carefree voter Jaye George about the recall effort last week. George signed the petition. Photo by Curtis Riggs

Getting ready to take effort to next level
CAREFREE – The Recall David Schwan campaign has picked up momentum since organizer Ryan Ducharme was allowed to resume collecting petition signatures at the Carefree Town Hall/Post Office last week. He intends to collect many more signatures than the 203 he is required to submit by Oct. 26 to force a March 2010 recall election.

Although it took Ducharme nearly a month to collect 110 signatures he has collected 70 signatures in the past four days, 110 since he resumed signature collections at the public building. As of Monday evening Ducharme had collected a total of 180 signatures. He has not yet collected petitions from 10 volunteers who are helping him.

Owner Ray Klemp and property manager Doug Bitner appear not to be contesting a preliminary court injunction, allowing Ducharme’s return. An Aug. 10 hearing date has been set for the permanent injunction.

"Every time the good old boys try to stop me people understand they are violating my First Amendment rights. This has created a huge backlash," Ducharme said.

While Ducharme has been picking up steam since returning to the town facility Schwan supporters have come out in force. Ducharme and Ray Paul, one of the recall effort's main volunteers, have had spirited exchanges with former Mayor Hugh Stevens, former Mayor Wayne Fulcher, former Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer, former longtime Councilman Greg Gardner, former Councilman Gary Hayward, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Lyn Hitchon, current council members Glenn Miller and Susan Vanik and Schwan himself in the few days since collections resumed.

Vanik tried to stop her friend Patricia Holland from signing. Fulcher, Hayward and Schwan have tried to interrupt while other citizens were signing.

Carefree resident Bob Sturman took issue with Fulcher last Thursday when the former mayor was trying to keep Ducharme from collecting signatures.

"Whether the guy is right or wrong he has the right to be here," Sturman said about Ducharme. He had already signed a recall petition prior to last week and has been following the recall effort since.

Many who have signed recently say they are doing so because he was previously prevented from collecting signatures at the post office/town hall, Ducharme said.

Other reasons given by petition signers are Schwan's becoming mayor after receiving the fewest votes in the March primary election and the firing of Town Center gardener Jeanette Summers.