Ross recall petition fails to garner enough valid signatures

A recall petition targeting Las Vegas Ward 6 Councilman Steve Ross doesn’t have enough signatures to put the question to voters, election officials confirmed Thursday.

But that doesn’t mean anti-Ross organizers are giving up. They vowed to start another petition soon and said it will get enough signatures.

Until then, Ross is safe in office serving a term that doesn’t end until April 2013.

According to the city clerk’s office, the failed petition had 1,079 valid signatures, but 1,084 were needed.

Also, 20 signatures were removed at the signers’ requests.

It left Ross’ opponents 25 signatures short of their goal.

"It is not going to have enough signatures," Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said of the petition, which needed to be signed by people who voted in the 2009 Ward 6 primary that put Ross in office.

"There are just too many people who did not vote in the election," Lomax said.

Recall organizers are already working up plans to try again.

"We’re not going to go and tie it up in court," Lisa Mayo-DeRiso said. "This really should be the citizens speaking, not a judge. So we are going to just refile and go out and get the signatures again."

Ross has 20 months left in his current term, which means recall organizers have time to circulate another petition to force a recall vote before the councilman faces re-election.

Ross spokesman Steve Redlinger said he was confident the recent recall effort would fail because, he said, it doesn’t have broad support in Ward 6.

"This was not a grass-roots effort by residents of the ward," Ross said, referring to the effort led by DeRiso and car dealer Joe Scala.

"This was a disgruntled car dealer and his lobbyist."

Scala, who is lending financial support to the anti-Ross drive, said in a full-page newspaper ad published Thursday that he is "all in" for another push should the group fall short.

Redlinger, who monitored election workers at the county Election Department offices in North Las Vegas, portrayed the recall effort as the result of a Scala vendetta against Ross.

"He seems intent on simply beating Steve Ross and writing as big of a check as it takes to do it," Redlinger said.

Ross supporters also submitted 23 affidavits from people asking to have their names taken off the petition; three were determined to be invalid.

"We’ve submitted 20 that were accepted, and, frankly, we have several dozen more," Redlinger said.

In his ad Thursday and in previous interviews, Scala said the recall has broad support within Ward 6 and is justified by Ross’ actions.

Scala blames Ross for failing to support a waiver that would have allowed his car dealership in the Centennial Hills auto mall to operate without a franchise agreement with a manufacturer.

Scala had sold off his franchise agreements just before the recession and, when the bottom fell out of the economy, was unable to secure another as automakers drastically reduced production.

The lack of a waiver forced Scala to close up shop on Dec. 24, putting about 30 people out of work.

He is especially angry because he said another dealership owned by a Ross contributor received a waiver.

"We just asked for the same he gave the dealer next door," Scala said during an interview earlier this month.

Anti-Ross activists also have criticized the councilman for going back on a promise to return a City Council pay raise, among other complaints.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

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