The effort to recall Mayor James Davis that was waged in April has fallen flat after the group failed to file a petition at the deadline on September 27, according to City Clerk Robert Sloan. The effort, led by Pat Desmond, Michael Alonso, and Donald Baran Jr., would have needed 8,178 signatures, which is 25 percent of registered voters in the last general election. If submitted with enough valid signatures, the recall election would have taken place in November.
“I knew from day one,” said Mayor James Davis. “I was never worried about it. Obviously if you see the infighting they’re having among themselves, it just proves my point that this was nothing but politically motivated.” In a statement he said, “They failed because, while it is easy to say that you are against something, you have to demonstrate what you believe in and look to achieve.”
Failure to submit
Pat Desmond, who worked on Davis’s mayoral campaign, said he collected 9,087signatures but said he pledged to the recall group that he would not turn them in unless he reached 12,000 to account for an expected number of invalid signatures. Desmond could not produce copies of the petition because he said it would endanger the jobs of city employees who signed it.
Robert Sloan said that typical recall petition signatures are 20-40 percent invalid due to forged and unverified signatures. “We have to make sure they’re real people and residents of Bayonne,” he said. “So it’s oftentimes difficult to amass the required number.”
Desmond also said there are multiple candidates in line to run against Davis and was afraid the committee’s efforts to recall the mayor would yield a split vote and therefore a statistical improbability of defeating the mayor in a recall election.
Desmond maintains his disdain for the mayor and his administration. “For the mayor to think he’s doing such a wonderful job, he’s blind,” Desmond said. But his criticism of the mayor centers on the administration rather than the mayor himself. “I’m not going to call him a bad guy,” he said. “He’s a good guy, just misinformed and I don’t like the circle around him.”
Michael Alonso, another recall committee member, expressed confusion as to why the petition was not submitted. In a statement, Alonso said, “Why Desmond did not submit those petitions to the city clerk leaves one to wonder.”He goes on to suggest that Desmond made a deal with the Davis Administration “to politicize the school board even more than it already is,” referring to Desmond’s sister, Mary, running for re-election in the Bayonne Board of Education election on November 8. At press time, Michael Alonso could not be reached for direct comment.
Desmond said that Alonso was not involved in the recall process more than signing the notification of intention to recall the Mayor with the city clerk. “Alonso had nothing to do with this. He didn’t even sign the petition,” Desmond said. “His name is on the committee because we needed a third name, so we put him on the commission. I don’t even talk to the kid.”
Desmond said he intends to initiate another recall effort and said he plans on focusing on helping another mayor get elected in the 2018 mayoral election.
Rory Pasquariello may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.