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Park Point Residents Push for Recall of City Councilor

Updated: 06/30/2014 9:24 PM
Created: 06/30/2014 4:54 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Residents don't always see eye to eye with their local politicians, but a group from Duluth's Park Point neighborhood are beyond frustrated. They are now pushing to recall City Councilor Sharla Gardner.

“District 3 business owners and residents will no longer be intimidated by Councilor Gardner for speaking out against her oppressive leadership and her failure to effectively provide basic safety, security and representation for her constituents,” Michael Medlin says.

The Park Point resident made that statement on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for District 3 Safety, Security and Representation.

Medlin wouldn't say how many residents want to recall Gardner, but he says the group needs 585 signatures to start the recall process. He hopes to double that number.

Moving the s-curve that connects Lake Aveune and Minnesota Avenue was a controversial plan that failed to pass the city council in May. Medlin says Gardner's support for that Small Area Plan is one reason for the recall.

Gardner stands behind her support for the plan, which passed without the s-curve resolution. She says the neighborhood plan will temper pressure to develop Park Point.

“What the small area plan did and will do is protect the neighborhood so that's essentially the reason I worked for that as hard as I did,” Gardner says.

Medlin says Gardner also failed to keep Fire Hall 5 open on Park Point. Gardner says she stood up for residents' safety concerns, but the decision came down to a council vote.

“I've always been a very strong supporter of a fire hall on Park Point, and I worked very hard to keep that fire hall. It was very difficult that that did not prevail,” Gardner said.

Medlin says those examples in addition to Gardner's support for the city's new street repair fee show how the councilor has disregarded her constituents.

Still, Gardner is confident she would prevail in a recall election citing her victory with 95 percent of the vote in the 2011 election.

“There's always going to be issues with which you disagree with people, and people have a perfect right to do what they think is best for them and the best for the community. I guess I'll just let the people decide,” Gardner said.

It may come to that with recall signs and petitions popping up in Park Point.

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