Arizona Strip residents look to recall judge

BEAVER DAM - A group of residents in the Virgin River area in northern Arizona are starting an effort to recall Moccasin Consolidated Court Judge Mitchell Kalauli.

A meeting to discuss the idea is slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Beaver Dam Elementary School gymnasium, 3436 E. Rio Virgin Road, Beaver Dam.

Paperwork for the recall petitions was picked up from the county election office this week and will be available to sign at the meeting.

Some of the residents in the area are upset about statements Kalauli made while the Board of Supervisors was considering where to put a new consolidated court in the Arizona Strip area.

"It seems that the judge is operating in his own self-interest and not in the interest of the taxpayers and residents of Mohave County," stated resident Annie Black in an e-mail announcing the meeting.

The Board received two donations of land in the Arizona Strip area for the new courthouse. The first property, donated by the Adair family, is located near Colorado City. The second property, donated by the Black family, is in the Beaver Dam area. The Blacks also donated $50,000 and a well toward the construction of the courthouse in Beaver Dam.

Kalauli argued that the court should be placed near Colorado City in the middle of the Arizona Strip instead of in the Beaver Dam/Virgin River area.

Supervisor Buster Johnson argued that the court should be placed in the Beaver Dam/Virgin River area because it was the mostly likely area to see a population growth in the future.

Also, statistics show that most of the tickets the Moccasin Court handles come from that area, he said. Supervisor Gary Watson wanted to put a main courthouse in the Colorado City area and a satellite court in the Beaver Dam area.

"With the close proximity to Interstate 15, the major revenue source for the court, it is apparent to any reasonable person that any new facility should be near the interstate," Black wrote in her e-mail.

"If you couple that with the planned future growth of the Virgin River Area, it's the most logical choice."

"The only reason why he (Kalauli) wants the court in Colorado City is because he and his staff don't want to commute," she said.

Members of the Beaver Dam community are currently talking with three potential candidates to run against Kalauli, Black said.

Besides the recall, the meeting will also discuss rising taxes and the Virgin River Waste Water Improvement District. Johnson is expected to attend the meeting.