Heat on Moorpark Councilman : Petitions Seeking Recall of Ferguson Submitted
Supporters of a campaign to recall Moorpark City Councilman Thomas C. (Bud) Ferguson turned in petitions Wednesday that they said contain the signatures of more than 2,200 residents.
The Ventura County registrar’s office has 30 days to verify that the petitions include the signatures of at least 1,840 registered Moorpark voters for the recall to be put to a vote in a special election in November, campaign organizer Patti Smith said.
Recall organizers, who began gathering signatures in April, have charged Ferguson with “questionable conduct” while serving on Moorpark’s five-member City Council.
Ferguson, 68, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing after a six-month investigation of political corruption by the Ventura district attorney’s office concluded last month. But district attorney investigators said Ferguson lied under oath and showed questionable moral conduct regarding his dealings with former Councilman Danny Woolard.
Woolard, who is serving a six-month prison sentence for embezzling U.S. Post Office funds, alleged that Ferguson had arranged up to $30,000 in loans over the last two years to influence Woolard’s vote on the council.
Investigators said that Ferguson Ferguson tried last fall to help Woolard cover up the theft of $5,500 from the Moorpark Post Office, where Woolard had worked as a window clerk. Ferguson was also aware of a $2,000 bribe that Woolard admitted receiving in exchange for a council vote on a controversial development project in February, 1986, the district attorney’s report said.
In both instances, the district attorney’s report concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge Ferguson with any crime.
Ferguson has denied any wrongdoing. He said he is not worried about the recall, but that, “if the people don’t want me to represent them, that’s fine.”
“I don’t want to represent anybody that doesn’t want me,” he said.
Recall organizer Smith said the release of the district attorney’s report on the investigation prompted a surge in signatures. “A lot of people were kind of sitting on the fence and weren’t real sure what to believe, but the report verified what we had charged,” she said.
Ferguson was elected to the City Council in November, 1984. He resigned as mayor earlier this year after a local newspaper printed an interview in which he made several racially offensive comments.