In the last 40 years there have been only three attempts to recall members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and none was successful, according to county officials and longtime residents.
These same sources were not sure what happened before 1948 because of a lack of immediate access to historical records.
The most serious attempt to recall a county supervisor came in late 1969 and early 1970, when board member Alton E. Allen was targeted by a group that used the effort to bloody Allen politically before defeating him in a subsequent supervisorial race.
The recall group circulated 8,000 copies of a fake newspaper that suddenly appeared on people's doorsteps. The newspaper, the Homeowners Beacon, charged that Allen had been unresponsive to 5th District residents' concerns about airport noise, elimination of a road to the Salt Creek public beach and placement of large landowners' holdings in agricultural preserves.
The effort was spearheaded by Anthony Tarantino of San Clemente and Paul B. Carpenter, a political activist who later served in the state Senate and who is now a member of the State Board of Equalization. Both men acknowledged at the time their role in mailing the Beacon tabloid.
The recall drive fell short of the necessary signatures. But before then, Allen had charged that the drive was part of a strategy by a savings and loan president, Ronald W. Caspers to defeat him in the June, 1970, election for 5th District supervisor. Later, both sides conceded that the strategy had worked.
In late 1970, a separate recall effort was mounted against three members of the board--William J. Phillips, Robert W. Battin and David L. Baker. They were targeted after the board voted itself a large pay raise.
Recall Effort Canceled
The recall effort was canceled after the salary action was rescinded.
Only four years ago Alan Klofkorn, a political gadfly, took out recall petitions against Supervisor Thomas F. Riley but never returned them. Klofkorn attacked Riley's support of 1984's Measure A, a proposed countywide 1-cent sales tax for transportation projects that eventually was defeated in a 70% to 30% vote.