Totally Not Recalled: In Election Night Twist, Embattled Mayor Loses and Wins

In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo newly elected Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has a conversation in his city hall office in Fall River, Mass.

In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo newly elected Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has a conversation in his city hall office in Fall River, Mass. AP Photo

Featured eBooks

Disaster Recovery and Resilience
Innovations in Transit and Transportation
Cyber Threats: Preparing States and Localities

Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | A new teen marriage law in Utah … A possible hit coming to health care in pension-crisis rocked Kentucky… A North Carolina mayor leaves office while decrying the “social disease” of social media.

Greetings. Route Fifty’s state-and-local government news roundup leads with an unexpected election result in Fall River and includes news from Utah, Kentucky, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Sacramento, California.

FAILED RECALL |  Mayor Jasiel Correia of Fall River, Massachusetts, who is facing federal criminal charges, this week lost a recall election, but will remain as the city leader. In the same election that saw 60 percent of voters back booting the 27-year-old mayor from office, Correia won reelection, narrowly getting the most votes of five candidates on the ballot. The ballot both asked voters to consider the mayor’s fate in the recall and pick the new city leader. “We’re going to keep winning!” Correia told supporters at an election night rally, promising to hire more police officers, firefighters and teachers, as well as improve roads and boost economic development. The effort to recall Correia launched last year after a federal grand jury indicted the mayor on fraud and tax-evasion charges tied to SnoOwl, the tech company he started as a college student. Correia, who has denied any wrongdoing, is accused of spending investor capital on travel, luxury cars, gambling and adult entertainment. An attempt by the City Council to remove him from office in November also failed. Tuesday night’s lost-and-won election is the latest chapter in a political career that already reads like a screenplay. As the Boston Globe reported, Correia won a City Council seat in 2013 only after the candidate who placed ahead of him took a different job. He later signed a recall petition against embattled former Mayor William Flanagan, leading the then-mayor to arrange a late-night meeting in his car. Correia has said Flanagan placed a gun on the dashboard and asked Correia to remove his name from the recall petition (although Flanagan denied this), the newspaper wrote. Correia didn’t and, in 2015, ran and won the top spot in Fall River government. Correia will need to run for office again in the fall. It seemed likely that the candidate bested by Correia, school committee member Paul Coogan, who drew 34 percent of the vote to the mayor’s 35 percent, could also run. "I think Fall River deserves better than where we ended up tonight," said Coogan, according to WPRI. [Boston Globe; WBUR; WPRI]     

TEEN MARRIAGE | State senators on Tuesday passed a bill that will raise the minimum marriage age in Utah to 15 and require that all teens seeking to marry in the state receive parental consent and judicial approval. The bill also will impose a seven-year maximum age -gap between a resident under the age of 18 and their would-be spouse. Two senators voted against the bill. Six representatives voted against the bill when it passed in the House at the beginning of the month. [Salt Lake City Tribune]

PENSION COSTS | Kentucky lawmakers wrestling with the state’s pension crisis learned this week that increased costs amounting to roughly $38 million could shutter health departments serving 42 Kentucky counties in the next fiscal year, even as the state battles opioid addiction and the nation’s largest hepatitis A outbreak. [Courier Journal]

“SEWAGE VAULT”? | It will be 300-feet wide and 20-feet deep and be designed to temporarily lock-up wastewater and storm runoff that combine during rain showers to overrun the sewage system and flow through east Sacramento streets. The vault will sit underneath McKinley Park and has drawn neighborhood protests. City Council approved the $2.9 million project this week. [Capital Public Radio]

SOCIAL MEDIA | Longtime Raleigh, North Carolina, Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced in a video on Tuesday that she has decided not to run for reelection. The four-term mayor and former city council member said she thought the political environment had become too fractious and unproductive in the social-media era, calling social media a “social disease.” “The mean politics of Twitter and social media is painful,” she said. “This social disease has exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007. Raleigh politics could use a reset.” [News & Observer]  

John Tomasic is a journalist who lives in Seattle.

NEXT STORY: When Does a Winter Storm Become a Bomb Cyclone?