A citizens’ group has notified the Colorado Springs City Clerk that they will be circulating petitions to recall City Council Member Wayne Williams and District 3 Councilwoman Stephannie Fortune.
The group, dubbed Integrity Matters, alleges the following, according to a statement published in a newsletter:
“Wayne Williams has demonstrated a tendency to negotiate on behalf of and vote in favor of developers and against public interests and public safety. Examples:
Expansion of Broadmoor Convention Center – ignored comments from our former fire chief / other fire officials denying evacuation concerns. Voted for developer.
PLDO [Park Land Dedication Ordinance] – it vigorously defended and voted for a reduction in the areas reserved for parks for the benefit of developers.
2424 [Garden of the Gods Road] Development – ignored widespread opposition/expert testimony regarding risk to public safety; Voted against public safety. [Council rejected the apartment proposal, and the developer has since filed a lawsuit.]
Kettle Creek Development – actively lobbied for the developer’s proposal which had only one exit and required less than a car/house in a 5 bedroom community.
Kum&Go development [at South 8th Street and Brookside Drive] – he voted against the planning commission and public outcry.
Clearance Evacuation Time & Public Safety Ordinance – he ignored his constituents’ ordinance passing the city ordinance which favored developers.
“Nearly 90% of his campaign funds come from the development community. [Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax extension measure on the Nov. 8 ballot] with his wife, Holly Williams, and the taxpayer-funded ad starring Jena Griswold raises serious questions about his ethics.
“He constantly betrays citizens and disregards the public interest and safety.”
The reference to Holly Williams is to her service as El Paso County Commissioner. Williams, a Republican and former secretary of state, appeared in a television ad this summer with Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to promote confidence in Colorado’s election. He later said he was unaware the ads would run after the June primary election (Griswold had no primary opponent) and that the ad tended to suggest he supported the re-election campaign of Griswold. He supports Republican candidate Pam Anderson, he says. He also said he didn’t know the ads would cost $1.1 million.
The callback language for Fortune:
“Stephannie Fortune was elected in a highly controversial nomination process. The public opposed her because:
Profiteers: She moved into the district a month after the seat vacancy was made public – an ethically dubious choice.
Dishonesty: She testified to city council that she would run for office in 2023, a requirement of councilman Williams; then told the press that she would not show up.
Without reservation: All of his opponents actually lived in D3; Several were more qualified and held undergraduate and/or graduate degrees.
“During her tenure, she betrayed her constituents:
She has not met or spoken with her constituents regarding the evacuation time and public safety ordinance that protects our public safety. Instead, she did what was expected of her: she backed the vapid city ordinance that opposed her constituents.
She served on the Wildfire Mitigation Tax Reappropriation Committee; Didn’t push for those mitigation dollars to go to his district where our leaders believe the risk is highest, due to power lines covered in trees and surrounded by houses, the most dangerous fuels.
She deceived the residents of Westside Community by pretending to represent their interests in an orchestrated process to take control of the Westside Community Center for commercial gain.”
Fortune was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Richard Skorman who stepped down effective December 31, 2021 to focus on his downtown business streak.
Another Integrity Matters newsletter urges people to donate money and volunteer to collect signatures for an effort that involves the support of County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr., a mayoral candidate in the municipal elections in April 2023, fellow mayoral candidate Andy Dalby and Integrity Matters founder Dana Dugan.
Duggan has also been a strong advocate for evacuation planning in the Westside and plays a key role in Westside Watch, which promotes Westside concerns.
Duggan disputed Williams’ claims that the recall petitions, if successful, could trigger a costly taxpayer-funded election. But she counters that the city charter states that if the petitions are deemed sufficient, councilors will have five days to resign, thus avoiding an election.
The city clerk’s office says the recall committee notified the city of the recall attempts on Sept. 6.
For Fortune, the committee needs to collect 4,053 valid signatures from registered voters who reside in the city and live in District 3.
For Williams, the committee must collect 24,057 valid signatures from registered voters who reside in the city. The difference stems from the fact that Fortune represents one of six districts, while Williams was elected by voters from across the city.
The deadline for returning signatures is 5 p.m. on November 18. If the councilors do not resign, the city council will set an election date for the recall.
Duggan tells India via email, the effort involves a large group of people. “The core team is about 8 people overseeing hundreds of enthusiastic and energetic volunteers. We are always adding volunteers who continue to grow,” she says.
We asked Fortune and Williams to comment on the recall effort and will update when we hear from them.