A squabble over 85 signatures has landed the recall effort against Dear in court. Although DeWitt filed more than 12,000 signatures to put the recall on the ballot, Kawagoe found the effort to be 85 signatures short after 868 signatures were withdrawn by voters who had originally signed the petition.
DeWitt wants a judge to decide if the withdrawn signatures — many of them withdrawn during a huge dessert event sponsored by the mayor — were properly dated. She believes many of those who signed withdrawal cards didn't know what they were signing and did so before they had signed the Dear recall petitions.
"He sent, like, 5,000 invitations [saying] 'Get your picture with the mayor, sign this card,'" says DeWitt. "The next day, he turned in 1,700 cards signed. I don't think they were clean."
The mayor retorts that if anyone played dirty, it was Vera "The Evil" DeWitt — that's what Dear openly calls her as he eats an omelet at the IHOP across from City Hall. DeWitt, he says, hired paid signature gatherers from as far away as Utah and Pennsylvania to amass the signatures. "They will say and do anything," he complains. "Now they're grasping at straws."
For her part, elections official Kawagoe says she has fairly performed her job. She seems to have a secret that has allowed her to ride out the storms in Carson for the past 34 years. "I'm not on anybody's side," says Kawagoe, who has jokingly told her workers not to step on her body if they find her dead. "I go by the book, I follow the rules, and that's why I've survived."