By Valliant Corley
WesCom Wire Service
GOLD BEACH, Ore. The group that failed to recall Sheriff Mark Metcalf is back again, this time with a new chief petitioner and treasurer and what they hope is better organization than when they fell short of valid signatures two weeks ago.
"If everything goes OK, we'll have the signatures in 17 to 18 days," said David Darnell, who was the treasurer of the first attempt by Citizens for an Honest Government.
This time, Marisu Terry of Gold Beach is the chief petitioner and Pam Nagel of Brookings is the treasurer.
Darnell said he and Jim Newman, who was chief petitioner for the first try, will continue working with the group but no longer will lead the effort.
Terry and Nagel filed their petition papers in County Clerk Rene Kolen's office on Thursday and prepared to send out people to collect signatures.
"If you can schedule in your collectors, we'll train them," Kolen told Terry and Nagel. "We'll give them a manual, what you can and cannot do and what to watch out for.
"I suggest you take a voter master list."
She noted that voters who have not voted in the last few years are no longer registered. She told the group to make sure those who sign also date their signatures so her office can tell whether they were registered when they signed the recall petitions.
The last try fell 139 names short of qualified voters. The 217 sheets contained 1,776 signatures, but not enough were Curry County registered voters.
The recall needed 1,421 signatures, but the Curry County Clerk/Elections Office determined there were only 1,282 valid signatures.
It will take a few more this time because the signatures needed are a percentage of voters in the previous certified governor's election. An election has been certified since the last recall petition was started, so they now need 1,520 registered voters' signatures.
Darnell said the organization will be much better than in the last effort. "We have people in each town, which we didn't before," Darnell said. "We had nobody in Port Orford until the last few days."
One mistake he said was costly was the group had 60 sheets (of signatures) that were not turned in, which would likely have furnished the 139 signatures that effort was short.
"We've been on a registration drive for the last week," he said. "It's very easy for people to pick up the telephone and see if their registration is up to date."
All of us will be carrying registration cards this time."
"I sent 100 cards to Brookings," Darnell said. "Two days later, a lady called me and said I need some more registration cards.' I was shocked."
The group has 90 days to collect signatures.
If the new petition contains enough valid signatures, the elections office will notify the sheriff, giving him five days to resign or submit a statement of justification. The recall election would then be held within 35 days.
Metcalf is scheduled to go on trial July 9 on charges handed up by a Curry County Grand Jury charging him with 11 misdemeanors, including four counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, four counts of harassment and three of official misconduct.
Judge Richard L. Barron, presiding judge of the 15th Circuit Court, will hear the case.
A statement released by sheriff's department employees said they had taken a no-confidence vote before the indictment was handed up on Jan. 21.
The employees said 33 votes were cast in that secret ballot, which ended with 32 saying they had no confidence in Metcalf to effectively lead the Curry County Sheriff's office and one vote of confidence in the sheriff.