A local Political Action Committee, Lee's Summit Citizens for Responsible Government, has filed paperwork with the City of Lee's Summit to begin efforts to place a recall election before voters in Council District 4.
The group, which is a registered PAC, is seeking the removal of Councilmember Chris Moreno. Moreno is a first-term councilmember, having been elected to the office in April. Moreno was one of three candidates for the seat vacated by Bob Johnson. District 4 saw a record turnout as Moreno defeated Amy Fox and Mellissa Garris with more than 50 percent of the vote. Now that the group has officially filed with the City, it has 60 days to collect 522 signatures from registered voters residing in District 4 to trigger a recall election.
Paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission lists Aaron Cochran as the group's treasurer. No other officers are required to be listed on the MEC site. A post on the Facebook page, Recall Moreno, shows LSAG chairperson Louise Horner filing the paper work at City Hall. Lee's Summit resident Kent Ruehter has taken on the role of spokesperson for the group and provided Link 2 Lee's Summit with the following news release.
Lee’s Summit Citizens for Responsible Government is calling for residents of District 4 to recall council member Chris Moreno.
The newly formed citizens group has filed a petition with the Lee’s Summit City Clerk’s office as of Wednesday, Oct. 26. The petition is the formal indication the group will be seeking recall efforts against council member Moreno.
In the petition, Lee’s Summit Citizens for Responsible Government have cited several reasons voters should consider in recalling Moreno, who was elected in April, including noting Moreno’s “intimidation of citizens, elected officials and business owners, repeated misconduct in office, suspicious campaign finances and abuse of power.”
“Councilman Moreno hasn’t remotely begun to speak on behalf of those of us that reside in District 4, much less serve our interests, since the day he took office in April,” said Kent Ruehter, a member of LSCRG and spokesperson for the group. “From his unprovoked attack on Target (which is not in his district) to immature outbursts at council meetings and pandering to certain interests that are not in the least tied to his city and civic duties, Mr. Moreno has let down residents of District 4 at every turn.”
The citizens group has noted Moreno’s lack of basic understandings of local governance, recent bankruptcy filings, lawsuits against Moreno and his constant barrages on social media as various factors that should lead District 4 voters to rethink their decision and instead cast a ballot in favor of recall, which will appear on the April 2017 ballot.
“Mr. Moreno hadn’t warmed his seat at the dais yet when he was calling out local television stations to bloviate on Target’s bathroom policy, using Lee’s Summit City Hall as the backdrop. That sort of self-righteous behavior shows he is unfit to serve us,” Ruehter said. “If this was his only misstep in his first six months, the electorate would likely forgive him. But time and again he has exhibited a pattern of incompetence, arrogance and bullying.
“During public comments at a council meeting in August, a citizen told Mr. Moreno he was not what Lee’s Summit is about. We couldn’t agree more and we plan to take firm and dedicated action to make sure he does not retain his seat.”
LSCRG must obtain 522 signatures of registered District 4 voters to force the April recall election. The group has 60 days from the petition filing to gather the signatures.
At least one citizen has called for Moreno to resign, also during public comments at a council meeting in October. Moreno was absent from his council chair during much of those public comments on Oct. 7, only returning to interrupt the citizen during her allotted time to speak.
The group says Moreno could help the city avoid this recall by simply stepping down.
“The voters may have spoken in April, but since then Mr. Moreno has used his elected position for his own gain and not that of the betterment of Lee’s Summit. We would ask the voters to speak again now as we call for his recall. Our city deserves better leadership than this and we will work to accomplish that.”
Note: Link 2 Lee's Summit publisher Nick Parker is a District 4 resident. The preceding post does not serve as commentary or an endorsement of any political action.