By AlaskaWatchman.com

Petitioner

Recall petitioners turned in a stack of signatures to the city clerk in Palmer in an effort to put three city council members up for a recall vote later this year.

From left, Palmer City Council Members Sabrena Combs, Brian Daniels and Jill Valerius are the subjects of a recall effort.

Palmer resident Cindy Hudgins, who is helping organized the recall of council members Sabrena Combs, Brian Daniels and Jill Valerius, submitted eight petition packets to the city clerk on Jan. 11.

In order to approve a recall election, the clerk must verify at least 169 valid signatures for each council member. Hudgins said her team of volunteers submitted 291 signatures for both Jill Valerius and Brian Daniels, and 290 for Sabrena Combs. That’s roughly 120 more signatures than needed for each person.

“We could have gotten more if not for that windstorm!” Hudgins said. “The clerk now has 10 days to review and qualify each signature. So now we wait to see what our next step is.”

The push to remove the three council members gained steam after a city-initiated investigation earlier this year found that they likely violated Alaska law prohibiting elected officials from meeting in quorum to privately discuss matters they are empowered to act on.

Combs, Daniels and Valerius, along with former Councilwoman Julie Berberich, were part of a private Facebook group – Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice. The leftist organization advocates for political and social issues such as critical race theory, community oversight of police, mask mandates, Black Lives Matter protest marches and other causes.

According to the city financed investigation, conducted by attorney Scott Brandt-Erichsen the council members in question engaged in behavior that raised “serious concerns.”

One instance in particular was most troubling, according to Brandt-Erichsen. In late October 2020 there was a Facebook thread about a proposed mask mandate being pushed by the four council members. The full city council later took the issue up at a Nov. 8 meeting which generated considerable public opposition and was ultimately rejected after multiple nights of extended and passionate public outcry.

Brandt-Erichsen concluded that a court would likely find that the council members’ private discourse in a closed Facebook group was a violation of Alaska’s Open Meetings Act, and a failure to perform their duties of office.

TAKING ACTION

— Click here for the latest announcements of the recall Facebook page.

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Signatures submitted to recall 3 Palmer City Council Members

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


6 Comments

  • Fergie says:

    This is a good step forward to prevent those that are sowing division in our community from doing further damage. However, the real problem is the terrible lack of voting involvement by citizens.

    All the elected officials in Palmer have been elected by a very small minority of the eligible voters in the city. Probably 20% or less in the last election. I don’t have exact figures. On top of that Palmer is the commercial and service center for the entire Matanuska/Knik River Valleys, population roughly 3 or 4 times that of the city that can’t vote in Palmer City elections. When you have such low turnout in Palmer local elections, it makes it possible for a very small, dedicated, well funded and organized minority to put their agents into office at the local level regardless of what the general populace may want. We are seeing this all over the United States at the local level. The problem is voter apathy!

    • kris spencer says:

      100%! I’m one of those who lives outside of Palmer, but feels like I’m a resident. I work in Palmer, shop in Palmer, Pay my utilities in Palmer, get gas and groceries in Palmer. I even have to have a Palmer biz lic to sell my art in Palmer shops! But can’t VOTE in Palmer. I’m grateful for those who did, making it possible to barely “squeak by” the dumb mask crap and other such things, and I never went to Anchorage for all of 2020 and most of 2021 to avoid the madness there. Am appalled by how few actually vote. I hope Palmer works harder on ways to let people know when elections are and what’s at stake.

  • NAV says:

    They all must be removed, I am one of the signatures

  • Boon says:

    Great, waste more money on a recall. Bigger fish to fry and I wholly disagree with the likelihood of a court finding them in violation as the statutory definition of a meeting must be met and it must be shown that whatever they did or did not discuss was not also openly discussed in a scheduled official public meeting. This is the kind of vindictive pettiness that will come back to bite us. That they are leftist or whatever is beyond the point. There are all kinds of folks in the valley and not sure why the author feels it necessary to highlight their beliefs. We have ours, they have theirs. So what? If they violated the law they should be held accountable and that’s all that matters. Just wondering if the author or my fellow commenters would feel the same if it was someone from our side that was being recalled.

    • Larry Wood says:

      All 3 are supporters of BLM, a communist front, title themselves as “progressives”, meaning communists. They act like overbearing communists. Although, Daniels is a total joke.
      All belong to “Mat-Su Mothers for Social Justice”. A BLM front, meaning communist goals.
      Had they had their way, the cops would be under MSMFSJ and Palmer residents would be wearing masks forever.
      This recall is necessary. Either that, or a boycott would be necessary.
      These people lied to get elected. They did not disclose what they truly are about.

  • michael ellis says:

    I am the soldier in this picture, and I did not approve of this picture being put on your website. I can be discharged from the military for this picture being put on here. Please remove this picture as soon as possible.

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