Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Democracy Grows Weaker in California

Yesterday, California's deeply flawed recall elections law continued to make democracy weaker in the state.

The recall election in the southern California community of Rosemead failed.

The two-year evolution of that election mirrored the two-year build-up to the recall election in Los Osos in 2005, including the fact that the officials targeted for recall were allowed, according to current elections law, to set their own recall election date. And, of course, in both cases, the officials up for recall set their own recall election date to near the latest date allowable by law.

In the time they allotted themselves (due to the deeply flawed elections code), both the 2005 Los Osos Community Services District directors and the 2006 Rosemead City Council members were able to rack up anywhere from a 3-1 to 6-1 campaign contribution advantage over their opponents, with the bulk coming from either the developers, or businesses that would benfit from the projects that led to the recall elections in the first place.

What's worse, is that in both cases, construction began on those projects -- a Wal-Mart Superstore in Rosemead, and a mid-town sewer plant in Los Osos -- before the elections.

In Los Osos, the election delay allowed the CSD the window of time to begin work on the highly controversial project.

In Rosemead, according to news reports, Wal-Mart contributed well over $200,000 to the "anti-recall" campaigns. The three candidates seeking election to the council raised less than $50,000 combined.

Simply put, the section of the state elections code that deals with recall elections is hurting democracy in California, and costing taxpayers millions. Allowing officials that are up for recall to set their own recall election date is always terrible policy... always.

In the next week, or so, SewerWatch will be coordinating an effort to contact state legislatures representing both Rosemead and Los Osos requesting that the section of the California elections code pertaining to recall elections be changed, or, more accurately, fixed, as I suggested in my previous post.

According to reports, supporters of the city council members that were up for recall in Rosemead paid for full-page ads in the regional paper, and even hired an airplane on election day to fly above the city with a banner that urged voters to defeat the recall.


[Los Osos, if you want to see an excellent example of just how similar your situation is to Rosemead's, read this: Recall vote divides Rosemead]


Post a Comment

<< Home