GEARHART — It appears Mayor Dianne Widdop will get to keep her office through the end of her term after an effort to recall her failed.
In Thursday’s special recall election, 63.56 percent of voters, or 321, voted against the recall of Widdop, according to the final unofficial results from the Clatsop County Elections Office. About 36.44 percent, or 184 voters, were in favor of the recall. Of 925 registered voters, 505 cast ballots for a voter turnout of 54.65 percent.
The recall process was initiated in November, when Gearhart resident Harold Gable filed a prospective petition with City Administrator Chad Sweet. He then started circulating his petition Dec. 1, after his prospective petition form was approved.
On his form, Gable listed Widdop’s alleged offenses as reasons she should be recalled. He stated, “Because of her abuse of leadership, lack of transparency and strong personal bias, vote yes to recall Mayor Widdop.”
“Restore honesty and trust to Gearhart’s government,” he added.After the election results came in, Widdop said she was glad there was a large margin.
“There is no question as to how people have felt about this,” she said.
Her hope is that now Gearhart, which is a tight-knit, small community, can move forward and let the matter rest.
“We’ve got our goals, we have a really good City Council. Let’s work together and move forward,” she said, adding, “The voters have spoken and I’m glad they had a chance to. ... I hope the people who wanted me recalled will sit back and listen to what’s been said tonight.”
Gable said he and the others who supported Widdop’s recall are “just going to keep on keeping on” and try to “keep people informed on what seems right from another perspective.”
“What is, is what is,” he said.
The vote showed that Widdop has a lot of support, Gable said, but he doesn’t think the people who voted yes thoroughly examined the history leading up to the recall.
Going forward he and the others who spearheaded the recall campaign will aim “to get people to be honest and to listen and to get things so there is a give-and-take, so there is a respect for things, so you don’t have complaints that are just verbal” but have a physical record, he said. He feels ordinances are not applied equally to everyone in the city, and that’s something he’d like changed in favor of “universal fairness,” he said.
He said it is too early give details on how they will go about trying to achieve their goals.
“I think things will work out all right. It will just take a little longer,” he said.
The city of Gearhart will incur the cost for the recall election. The elections office will send the city an invoice, but the final cost has not been estimated, according to Sweet and elections officials. The estimated cost is $6,000 to $8,000.
“I’m glad this election is over,” Sweet said. “I’d like to get back to work for Gearhart.”