Understanding PAC’s attempt to recall council members

By Bob Hembree
Posted 6/19/24

The Page Action Committee (PAC) met the 210-signature requirement to recall Councilors David Auge and Mike Farrow.

The Chronicle interviewed PAC chair Debra Roundtree Sept. 16, 2023 when talk of …

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Understanding PAC’s attempt to recall council members


The Page Action Committee (PAC) met the 210-signature requirement to recall Councilors David Auge and Mike Farrow.

The Chronicle interviewed PAC chair Debra Roundtree Sept. 16, 2023 when talk of a recall began. “To me, until they take a stand and there's a vote, I don't feel like we should start removing people from office yet,” said Roundtree. “Otherwise, we're just making assumptions as who will or who won't vote for it.”

On June 12, 2024, Auge and Farrow, along with Vice Mayor John Kocjan, voted against awarding a contract that would modify Lake Powell Boulevard—just what PAC lobbied for. Auge and Farrow learned the same evening PAC filed papers to recall them.

In Arizona, the bar is low to recall politicians. If enough people agree a council member’s feet are too big, they can get a recall on the ballot.

The PAC’s Recall General Statement lacks clarity and falls short of Roundtree’s standards. “I've done a lot of petitions over the years, and if it's not one or two lines, people will not read it,” Roundtree told the Chronicle Sept. 16, 2023. “They think you're trying to get them to sign a petition for something they don't want. Like my best friend, she won't sign a petition because she signed a petition years ago, and it caused somebody to lose their job in Page, and she did not know the full effects of it. So she says, ‘I just won't sign those anymore.’ So people won't sign lengthy petitions because they don't know how it's going to affect but I said one line, ‘Save my main street.’ They're going to sign that.”

Auge and Farrow believe many who signed the recall petition were misled. “They came in [to City Hall] and apologized and asked if they could get their signature taken off the recall petition because they didn't realize what they were signing,” said Councilor Auge. “I've had several people, I don't know how many exactly, but [they] have come up to me out in public and apologized to me for signing that recall petition. It was just presented and they just signed it and [went] on their way, and they didn't realize what they were signing.”

Councilor Farrow had similar experiences, “Several said that they just signed them in bulk. So they signed multiple recalls at the same time. More than just Dave and I, but only Dave and I were recalled. And I've had several people say that they didn't realize what they were signing.”

On Sept. 9, 2023, Mayor Bill Diak told the Chronicle of a similar experience with people who signed the “Streetscape petition” that went to court. “But there was one thing -- last night, I went to the football game,” said Diak. “I had at least seven to 10 people walk up to me and say, ‘Hey, what's this petition about that I signed about the Streetscape?’ I says, ‘Didn't you read it?’ And they says, ‘No, They just says, hey, this was important. They needed my signature on the Streetscape petition.”

The recall statement citizens signed has three complicated sentences describing reasons for the recall.

Sentence 1: “For refusal to acknowledge constituent's over 1,550-signature opinion petition presented on September 27, 2023, to a regularly scheduled city council meeting where they were included on a public agenda concerning lane reductions to Lake Powell Boulevard thereby affecting citizens' daily lives and businesses.”

This sentence is not accurate. Roundtree was acknowledged at the Sept. 27, 2023 City Council meeting. Council allowed her to give a 27-minute presentation on why Lake Powell Boulevard should not be changed. The city also assisted Roundtree, projecting her stock slides to accompany her presentation. Farrow said the city clerk recorded it, therefore acknowledged it. The meeting including Roundtree’s presentation is available on the City of Page YouTube channel.

The petition numbers were inflated and not a legitimate representation of Page residents because non-registered voters and non-citizens within 50 miles of Page were allowed to sign. Auge said mayoral candidate Stephen Kidman’s RD Drive-in customers were asked to sign while waiting on their order. “There was a lot of signatures, obviously, that weren't citizens of Page,” said Auge. “So it wasn't a valid or an audited petition.”

On the second PAC petition, 18% of signers in the random sample selection were flagged suggesting vetting was lax. Still, PAC had more than enough signatures. The petition attempted to prevent present and future city councils from making changes to Lake Powell Boulevard. Coconino County Superior Court Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols agreed with the City of Page cause for rejection.

Sentence 2:  “For refusal of allowing all his constituents the democratic process to vote on a matter potentially costing the citizenry 15-30 million dollars and making drastic changes to the major Main Street-Lake Powell Boulevard and choosing to represent therefore a fraction of his constituents by refusal to allow discussion or consideration allowing citizens to vote on proposed lane reductions to Lake Powell Boulevard during City Council meeting on October 25, 2023.”

The sentence is incorrect. The PAC ballot measure to stop Lake Powell Boulevard development was not blocked by the city council; the petition did not meet Arizona constitutional requirements. It was never a council decision. Coconino County Superior Court confirmed the city’s determination and ruled against PAC. PAC filed an appeal. As of June 6, there was no ruling on the appeal.

Responding to the second sentence of the recall statement, Farrow said, “How did Dave and I stop democracy of any one of those people for future voting? Because there's an election going on. There's an absolute election going on that they can take control of by getting their mayor and city council in there.”

Of the 10 candidates for mayor and city council seats, at least five, including Roundtree and Kidman, are associated with the PAC. If elected, they would control the city.

Sentence 3: “For refusal of allowing his constituents the democratic process by accepting their initiated ballot measure that had enough signatures and allowing his constituents to go to the ballot box in July 2024 to voice their opinion about Lake Powell Boulevard being reduced to 3 lanes.”


Sentence 3 is redundant. It repeats false accusations stated in sentence 2.

“The whole point, as far as the law firm that handles election stuff, they decided this was not legal to go on a ballot,” said Auge. “And that's why it's going through the court system.”

“That's why in the PAC group, Debi wrote, I know you're as disappointed as we are that the City of Page council was playing games and would not turn in their briefs until April 26, and [the] 25th was the deadline,” said Farrow.

At the April 18 PAC vs City of Page hearing, Judge Nichols set an April 26 deadline for attorneys of both parties to submit briefs (proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law). Council does not prepare or submit briefs. The court document with Judge Nichols’ final judgment is dated May 24. The deadline for ballot measure petitions in Arizona this year is July 3 for the general election.