The recall petition for Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Kelly Wolf has been denied.
On Thursday, the Borough clerk’s office released the results of the application that was submitted by Kasilof resident Chase Duncan on Jan. 26. Duncan cited “incompetent representation” as the reason he filed the petition.
“Kelly Wolf has demonstrated extreme and egregious incompetence in his elected position due to his recent Ordinance 2015-002,” Duncan stated in his petition, but did not go into further detail.
The borough’s response stated Duncan’s allegations were not stated with enough particularity, which is a requirement to warrant a recall, according to Alaska statute.
“In fact, the substance of the allegation contained in the Application, even if taken as true and assumed to be factually sufficient, appear to voice disagreement with the discretionary position taken by Assembly member Wolf, rather than particular incompetence,” according to the response.
Because Duncan’s statements against Wolf were not specific enough, it did not provide an opportunity for Wolf to defend himself, which is also required by state statute, according to the response.
Wolf said the petition was “far fetched,” and “disgruntled.” Introducing the ordinance was under his legal right as an elected official. The petition required outside legal counsel and the process cost borough taxpayers.
The legislation called into question was introduced at the Jan. 20 assembly meeting. If approved, marijuana cultivation operations would be prohibited in the borough’s unincorporated areas.
“I will also point out that on the Kenai Peninsula outside the incorporated cities this measure received nearly a split vote,” Wolf said in an email. “As an elected representative of the people I represent both sides of this issue. That is why I had the ordinance drafted to give it to the people to vote on.”
Wolf said he expected dissenting opinions before opening up the topic of marijuana regulation. However, he said some commentary from the public has devolved into “name calling.”
Duncan could not be reached for comment concerning the denial of his petition, but he had spoken briefly at Tuesday’s assembly meeting.
“Why would a competent representative want to ban the vast majority of the Kenai Peninsula from commercial cultivation,” Duncan said.
Wolf should be more concerned about “schools, playgrounds and churches,” for example, Duncan said.
Duncan addressed previous statements made by Wolf that his position on marijuana results from his experience losing two friends that committed suicide while using marijuana.
“I feel for you, I’m sorry,” Duncan said. “I won’t go any further on what I believe is a statement of pure ignorance though.”
Duncan said public comment had turned toward ridicule of some assembly members and that was an irresponsible response. However, he suggested, with the possibility that his petition would be denied, assembly members take the time to learn about the effects of marijuana use.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.