Felix Rivera recall moves forward Question to recall assembly chair will appear on April ballot
by victoria petersen
Efforts to recall Anchorage Assembly chair Felix Rivera are underway after a city clerk certified the petition and a state judge ruled it could move forward in late January. The petition, certified in mid-January, puts the recall question on the April ballot for voters in District 4, which includes Midtown. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Dani Crosby ruled the court doesn’t have the ability to investigate whether the petition’s claims against Rivera are true or false, and that voters should decide on the allegations.
The recall petition alleges Rivera violated a special city emergency order prohibiting indoor gatherings of 15 or more people, which was implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the city. The statement on the grounds of the recall claims Rivera, the assembly’s chair, knowingly participated in an indoor gathering of more than 15 people during an August Anchorage Assembly meeting — which was not halted after another assembly member brought it to Rivera’s attention. The statement also alleged Rivera committed misconduct in office, but that claim was rejected by the clerk’s office. Petitioners believe Rivera had the responsibility to enforce the city’s emergency order on gatherings.
A group known as the Midtown Citizens Coalition — filed a lawsuit against the Municipality of Anchorage and Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones for approving the recall petition, which they claim was not a lawful use of the recall power, but a matter of discretion. Crosby wrote that voters must determine if Rivera’s conduct was a reasonable exercise of his discretion under the circumstances, or if it merits being recalled from office. The question to recall Rivera will appear on the April 6 ballot for residents in Anchorage’s District 4.
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