Agoura Hills : Recall Backers Hope for Favorable Rulings

Known for its stormy political history, Agoura Hills kept the tradition alive in 1995 as City Council members staved off a recall attempt, then performed an encore by emerging victorious in November elections.

In a race for two open council seats, Dan Kuperberg, a political newcomer who opposed the recall, received the most votes. Louise Rishoff came in second, winning reelection to the seat she has held since 1987. Hank Murphy and Gary Mueller, both critics of the council, were defeated.

The recall effort, which targeted all five council members, was launched in the summer of 1994, after the council adopted a controversial 4% utility tax. Last December, after a petition drive, the recall group turned in what it said were enough signatures to force recall elections against all five council members.

However, the city and county clerk's office threw out hundreds of signatures on technicalities, then declared the recall a failure.

Not to be deterred, the recall group sued the two agencies to force them to reverse their decision.

In June, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diane Wayne ruled against the recall group in all but Councilwoman Fran Pavley's case, ordering a recount of invalidated signatures in her case. The recount determined that the recall group had gathered enough signatures to force an election.

In Pavley's defense, the city filed a motion asking Wayne to reconsider her order for a recount. But Wayne refused. The city then appealed to the state Appellate Court, where the case is still pending.

Meanwhile, the recall group has asked the Appellate Court to overturn Wayne's ruling as it relates to Ed Corridori and Denis Weber, who are still council members. Because Rishoff was reelected, all the signatures gathered against her are moot. And former council member Joan Yacovone, who is no longer on the council, is out of the recall group's reach.

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