By: Patti Lynn
A hearing was held today at 2:00 PM before Broward County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gates. The hearing was a request for a Temporary Injunction, filed by Stuart Michelson, representing embattled Tamarac Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad.
Michelson alleged that his client, Atkins-Grad, would be irreparably harmed if the recall petition was permitted to go forward. He stated how upset she is, seeing Tamarac citizens soliciting signatures to have her recalled everywhere she goes. She is, he said, the “duly elected” commissioner, and the recall committee should be enjoined from trying to have her removed.
The basis of his arguments was simple:
1). The petitions were, on their face, defective. First, the wording on the new petition, the one accepted by the Supervisor of Elections, had the same wording as the original failed petition. That is not acceptable, he said. The law prohibits using a failed petition another time.
2). There is NO OATH on the petition, and the law requires that whoever solicits signatures on a petition must swear that they witnessed the signature and knew that the signer was who they said they were. Additionally, the person who collects the signature MUST swear, before a notary, that they did this.
3). The addresses listed by those signing the petitions do not include their county of residence. Petition law requires that the county name be included.
Attorney Michelson reiterated the suffering that Patte Atkins-Grad was being subjected to due to the activities of the Recall Committee. At no time did he reflect on the unethical behavior of his client or the lack of adequate representation that is now being given to the residents of Tamarac’s District 2. Nor did he remark that three times as many people as voted for Atkins-Grad have already signed a petition
to have her recalled.
Attorneys Kevin Tynan and Josh Entin represented the Recall Committee and Alvin Entin as individuals named in Michelson’s lawsuit. They countered the plaintiff’s claims by asserting:
1). State law states that a “rejected” petition cannot be used again, nor can additional names be added to it. This wording indicates that when the law states that a “ petition may not be used again…” the law refers to the actual physical rejected petition and not the wording used in the petition.
2). The petitions have an attestation above the signature of the collector of signatures, stating that the attester witnessed each person sign and that the person was aware of the contents of the petition. That, according to Tynan & Entin, was the oath, as required by law.
3). Each petition submitted stated, quite clearly, that, “We, the undersigned, registered and qualified electors of the Commission District 2, City of Tamarac, Broward County, Florida, pursuant……” That clearly states BROWARD County.
Should Judge Gates grant the Temporary Injunction, petitioners would still be permitted to collect signatures until Patte Atkins-Grad posted a bond. The amount of such bond has not been decided and is only applicable should the judge not throw out Michelson’s lawsuit.
At no time in the proceedings did anyone mention the discomfort of the residents in Tamarac’s District 2 who are signing the petition because they consider Atkins-Grad corrupt and incompetent.
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