Effort to recall Springs mayor, vice mayor fails

January 22, 2010

An effort to recall Mayor Lionel Rivera and Vice Mayor Larry Small has failed.

Patrick Ayers, who launched the recall drive, refused to comment this morning. But he told The Gazette this week he wouldn’t be turning in the required signatures by today’s deadline. Ayers wouldn’t say how many signatures he had collected.

Ayers and his supporters had 60 days to collect about 14,300 signatures for both Rivera and Small to force a recall election of both officials.

Rivera, who is attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., said in a telephone interview that the failed effort was “great news.”

“You never say you’re not concerned,” he said. “Just ask (Massachusetts Attorney General) Martha Coakley about taking things for granted. You never do. I’m just glad the city won’t have to spend $400,000 that we really don’t have at this time for a special election.”

Small said he hadn’t given the recall drive much thought since Ayers took out petitions in November.

“I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to get the signatures,” Small said. “I’m not sure people are interested in a recall right now, and it’s too close to (the April 2011 election). Why bother to do it?”

Small said voters have mixed feelings about him.

“I hear from some who would be more than happy to see me go, and I hear from some who are hoping I stay for a long time,” he said, laughing.

“It’s just depends on who you talk to,” he added. “But all in all, I think overall I have a pretty good relationship with the public, and I try to keep it that way.”

Rivera said he plans to work hard to serve Colorado Springs until his term expires next year.

“I have about 15 months left on my term, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to help the city get out of these financial straits and make sure the citizens get the best service we can provide them with our resources,” he said. “That’s going to be my focus.”

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