A group of citizens has notified the Colorado Springs City Clerk they will circulate petitions to recall at-large City Council member Wayne Williams and District 3 Councilor Stephannie Fortune.
The group, dubbed Integrity Matters, alleges the following, according to a statement issued in a news letter:
“Wayne Williams demonstrated a pattern of negotiating on behalf of and voting in favor of developers and against public interests and public safety. Examples:
Broadmoor Convention Center Expansion – he ignored input from our former fire chief/other fire officials denying evacuation concerns. Voted for the developer.
PLDO [Park Land Dedication Ordinance] – he vigorously defended and voted for a reduction of acreage to be set aside for parklands favoring developers.
2424 [Garden of the Gods Road] Development – he ignored widespread opposition/testimony from experts regarding the public safety risk; Voted against public safety. [Council rejected the apartment proposal, and the developer has since filed a lawsuit.]
Kettle Creek Development – he actively lobbied for the developer’s proposal that had only 1 egress and claimed less than 1 car/home 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 are from the development community. Additionally, co-chairing the $1 billion PPRTA-3 tax [Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax extension measure on the Nov. 8 ballot] with his wife, Holly Williams, and the taxpayer-funded-ad with Jena Griswold raises serious questions about his ethics.
“He consistently betrays the citizens and disregards the public’s interest and safety.”
The reference to Holly Williams regards her service as an El Paso County commissioner. Williams, a Republican and former secretary of state, appeared in a television ad with Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, this summer promoting confidence in Colorado elections. He later said he didn’t know the ads would run after the June primary election (Griswold didn’t have a primary opponent) and that the ad tended to suggest that he supports Griswold’s re-election campaign. He supports Republican candidate Pam Anderson, he’s said. He’s also said he didn’t know the ads would cost $1.1 million.
The recall language for Fortune:
“Stephannie Fortune gained office in a highly controversial appointment process. The public objected because:
Carpetbagger: She moved into the district one month after the seat vacancy was made public – an ethically dubious choice.
Dishonesty: She testified to City Council she would run for office in 2023, a requirement of Councilmember Williams; then told the press she wouldn’t run.
Unqualified: All of her opponents actually lived in D3; Several were more qualified holding undergraduate and/or graduate credentials.
“While in office, she betrayed her constituents:
She didn’t meet or engage with her constituents regarding the Clearance Evacuation Time & Public Safety Ordinance which protects our public safety. Instead, she did what was expected of her: supported the vapid City Ordinance opposing her constituents.
She served on the Wildfire Mitigation Tax Reappropriation Committee; Didn’t lobby for those mitigation dollars to go to her District where our leadership says is at the highest risk, due to power lines covered by trees and surrounded by houses, the most dangerous fuels.
She deceived Westside Community residents pretending to represent their interests in an orchestrated process to take control of the Westside Community Center for business usage.”
Fortune was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Richard Skorman who resigned effective Dec. 31, 2021, to focus on his string of Downtown businesses.
Another Integrity Matters newsletter urges people to donate money and volunteer to collect signatures for an effort that involves support from County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr., a candidate for mayor in the April 2023 city election, another mayoral candidate Andy Dalby, and Integrity Matters founder Dana Duggan.
Duggan also has been a vocal advocate for evacuation planning on the Westside and plays a key role in Westside Watch, which promotes Westside concerns.
Duggan has taken issue with claims by Williams that the recall petitions, if successful, could trigger an expensive election funded by taxpayers. But she counters that the City Charter states that if the petitions are deemed sufficient, the councilors will have five days to resign, thereby 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 must to gather 4,053 valid signatures of registered voters who reside in the city and live in District 3.
For Williams, the committee needs to gather 24,057 valid signatures of registered voters who reside in the city. The difference stems from Fortune representing one of six districts, while Williams was elected by voters citywide.
The deadline to return the signatures is 5 p.m. Nov. 18. If the councilors don’t resign, City Council will set an election date for the recall.
Duggan tells the Indy via email the effort involves a sizable group of people. “The core team is about 8 people overseeing hundreds of enthusiastic and energized volunteers. We are still in the process of adding volunteers which continues to grow,” she says.
We’ve asked Fortune and Williams to comment on the recall effort and will update when we hear from them.