An organizer of the attempt to recall Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson is criticizing a slowdown in the recall process, although Jackson's lawyer said his client is raising legitimate issues.
As it stands, Jackson has until 4:30 pm Friday to provide the Providence Board of Canvassers with specific objections to the more than 300 signatures gathered to initiate the recall process.
Tricia Kammerer, one of the organizers of the recall, said the Canvassers terminated the signature-gathering effort retroactively to October 13.
“We stand by the integrity of the 360 signatures that were validated by the Board of Canvassers on October 13th and welcome a swift process to defend the integrity of the signatures we have gathered," Kammerer said in a statement. "Sentiment throughout Ward 3 is so strong for Jackson's removal that we are confident we will gather the required number of signatures for recall in the 2nd round of petition gathering.”
Jackson, who has served on the Providence council since first winning election in 1995, was arrested and charged in May. He's accused of making personal use of campaign contributions and embezzling more than $127,000 from a youth sports organization. Jackson has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and he's due back in court in December.
Kammerer said Jackson should let the recall vote go ahead, so that his constituents in Ward 3 can decide whether to keep him in office, rather than suing her and another organizer, Karina Wood. She said his opposition amounts to bullying and stifling the constitutional rights of his constituents.
Jackson's lawyer, Artin Coloian, said Jackson does not oppose the recall. Rather, but is raising pertinent questions about his rights.
Since Jackson is seeking a declaratory judgment, Coloian said, he is not suing Kammerer and Wood. "Their assertions of bullying are baseless," Coloian said. He said the initial recall effort is marred by "multiple deficiencies" alluded to in Jackson's court filing in the case.