Andrea Merida: Attempt to recall DPS board member fails for lack of petition signatures

An attempt to recall controversial Denver Public Schools board member Andrea Merida appears to have failed. The three southwest Denver voters who asked for the recall had until Monday to submit a petition complete with the signatures of 4,342 voters in Merida's district. According to Nancy Reubert of the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office, they did not do so.

The attempt to recall Merida began in early September, when the voters submitted an initial petition to the Denver Elections Division asking that Merida be recalled on the grounds of "unethical conduct" and "unbecoming behavior."

At the time, one of the voters, Anita Banuelos, told Westword that the effort was prompted partly by Merida's failure to disclose she was a paid staffer for former U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff when she wrote an op-ed for the Denver Post in July that criticized comments made by Romanoff's opponent, Senator Michael Bennet.

"I feel like she has a political agenda," Banuelos said in September. "She's always asking for transparency, transparency. But that's the pot calling the kettle black."

The Elections Division rejected this petition because it was not in the proper format. The petitioners tried again to no avail. However, a third attempt was successful. Once the Elections Division approved the petition, it gave the voters sixty days to collect the 4,342 signatures.

The sixty-day time frame expired yesterday. A little after 5 p.m., when the office closes, Reubert reported that no signatures had been delivered, therefore nullifying the effort.

For more on Merida, read "Rule Breaker," Westword's profile of her.

Though Merida dodged a recall, she may still face a censure vote. Board President Nate Easley moved earlier this month to censure Merida and fellow board members Jeannie Kaplan and Arturo Jimenez -- who often vote together in the minority on the seven-person board -- because he says they violated open-meeting law when they met with a lawyers' group about a schools-turnaround plan. Easley has since postponed the vote.

More from our Education archive: "DPS school turnaround: Those opposed to plan have their say, but board approves it anyway."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar