The effort to recall Councilwoman Alison Gary ended unsuccessfully last week, but organizers of the recall campaign are refusing to disclose the number of signatures gathered for the petition.
Gary, formerly Alison Cascio, said she has no problems with constituents disagreeing with her, but she took issue with the group’s misrepresentation of her voting record in order to garner support.
“I didn’t have a problem with them doing a recall, and I don’t have a problem with them disagreeing with me,” she said. “The problem is that they lied about things on the information (they distributed) and they were made aware of the facts and didn’t change them.”
On the campaign’s website, http://www.RecallCascio.com, and in mailers sent to district residents, recall organizers cited five key reasons they wanted to recall Gary.
Among the reasons, the material said Gary supported the mayor’s capital improvements bond issues in 2008 and 2009.
“CASCIO IGNORED YOUR OPINIONS. EVEN WORSE, SHE PROMOTED THE WORST PARTS OF THE BOND ISSUES — voting for them as a single package, and including the half-billion dollar Alive proposal,” a mailer reads.
Gary was not in office to vote on the 2008 proposal and in September 2009, she voted against sending the proposal to voters.
When the plan resurfaced in October 2009, Gary voted in favor of removing the $901 million capital improvements bond issue from the ballot.
And this year, she voted against Mayor-President Kip Holden’s third iteration of the tax plan.
She said the group also misrepresented her support for the use of the donated land in the Rouzan development on Perkins Road to build a new library over other donated land in south Baton Rouge.
Gary has said the other land was “in a flood plain, more expensive to build on and wasn’t in as good a location.”
Gary said she contacted someone with the campaign early on to inform them of the inaccuracies, but nothing was changed.
“If they want to play that game, that’s fine with me,” she said. “But at least put out the facts, and don’t lie to make your case more compelling.”
A grassroots effort to remove the first-term councilwoman was initiated in late March.
Recall efforts are given 180 days to obtain signatures from one-third of the registered voters in an elected official’s district.
The “Recall Cascio” campaign failed to obtain the 7,800 signatures necessary to prompt a recall election.
“By the end of the campaign we had come close, but didn’t quite make the legally-defined number,” a campaign spokesperson said in an email to The Advocate signed “Citizens for Government Accountability.”
The group has ignored more than six emails since August requesting the number of signatures gathered on the petition, and multiple phone messages left at the group’s headquarters and with Hunter Bridges, who is identified as the chairman of the recall petition by the Secretary of State’s Office.
The group did not submit its petition to the registrar of voters.
But according to state law, “upon the signature of the first elector, the recall petition, including the name, address and signature of each elector who has signed thereon, shall be a public record.”
The chairman is the custodian of the public record, according to the state law.
“The effort began as a popular backlash against Ms. Cascio’s many highhanded and irresponsible decisions in her position as councilwoman,” the spokesperson wrote in an email announcing the end of the recall campaign. “In short, she has acted NOT as a representative of her constituents, but as an agent for her own opinions and those of certain groups with their own agendas.”