dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Recalls Require Facts

September 28th, 2022 by dk

It’s all over but the shouting. Lane County Elections has until Oct. 3 to certify the results for the recall of Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett. Syrett is significantly behind but has asked the courts to void the originating petition. 

Syrett will remain on the city council until a judgement is rendered. If the petition and the results are declared valid, city council will appoint her successor. Ward 7’s new representative will then be chosen by the representatives for every ward in the city — except Ward 7.

There’s nothing in Eugene’s city charter to prevent city council from choosing Claire Syrett to replace Claire Syrett. During this lull before a final decision is announced, it’s worth taking a closer look at the SEL 350 form, which set this election in motion back in April.

At the top of the form there’s an exclamation mark, followed by this text: “Warning: Supplying false information on this form may result in a conviction of a felony with a fine of up to $125,000 and/or prison for up to 5 years.” 

Above the section where the petitioner makes their statement, a second reminder reads, “Provide the reasons for demanding recall in 200 words or less. Any factual information provided must be true.”

Then, above the chief petitioner’s signature, there’s this: “By signing this document, I hereby state that any factual information (not a matter of opinion) in the above statement is true.”

In the statement of fact that became the basis for the recall, petitioner Gerald Morton included some non-facts. Such as: “Claire Syrett voted to … take substantial property from businesses and residences. Traffic congestion will increase. Syrett is ignoring the facts…. Syrett supports MovingAhead’s EmX plan despite the fact that taxes will need to increase to support operations….” (Readers can follow the link below to the form itself.)

Syrett’s lawsuit claims that the planning for EmX has not yet reached the point where land acquisition or tax increases have been determined, so the petitioner proffered something other than facts, despite three reminders. Opinions, predictions, fears — these all have a place in our democracy, but that place is not anywhere on the SEL 350 form.

“It’s really kind of scary,” former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury told me, “People are busy. Signing petitions is  good for our system. But they don’t always know what’s true. That’s why it’s essential that they can rely on the petitioner’s statement. If the petitioner doesn’t speak truthfully, it can lead to some ridiculous consequences. And what does that do for public service? It destroys it!”

If other city councilors believe the system has been abused, they may be tempted to appoint Syrett to replace herself.

I don’t live in Ward 7 and I don’t endorse candidates. Regardless of how you feel about EmX, Syrett, city council, recalls, or elections in general, defending facts is important. That’s just my opinion, and your opinions may differ. But our facts should be the same.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Wednesday and Sunday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at The recall petition’s SEL 350 form can be viewed at

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

Are you human? *

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.