City Councilmen Frank Feldhaus and Bob D. Simpson were told Tuesday that they will be targets of a recall effort launched by a group upset that street vendors have not been banned in the city.
Neighborhoods Opposed to street Vendors in Anaheim, or NOVA, gave the councilmen written notice of the recall effort during Tuesday’s council meeting. The group will have about five months to get approximately 10,000 signatures supporting the recall of each councilman. If successful, a special recall election could be held by the middle of next year.
Simpson, who announced a year ago that he would not seek reelection in November, 1994, was elected in 1990 and is a former Anaheim city manager and fire chief. Feldhaus was elected last November, beating out incumbent Councilman William D. Ehrle.
“The Anaheim City Council could do something about vendors if it wanted to,” said Mike Blanco, a NOVA leader. However, he said, the group believes that Simpson and Feldhaus have switched sides and now support the vendors.
His group says street vending leads to crime and falling property values. The vendors--who sell primarily groceries from parked trucks--say they are small-business owners who are being wrongly blamed for society’s ills.
Feldhaus and Simpson said they were stunned by NOVA’s action.
“I think it’s frivolous,” Feldhaus said. “Their beliefs are completely erroneous. I am trying to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.”
Simpson said he does not have the “foggiest idea” why NOVA believes he now supports the vendors.
The council last year enacted an ordinance banning street vendors from selling in residential neighborhoods, but a state appeals court ruled that the ordinance violated state law.
The city could have appealed the decision to the State Supreme Court, but the council decided against that after the city attorney said an appeal had little chance to succeed.
No public vote on filing an appeal was taken by the council, but NOVA members believe Feldhaus and Simpson joined Councilman Fred Hunter, a longtime vendor supporter, in deciding not to appeal.
Blanco said NOVA is not challenging Hunter because “we’ve always known where he stood.”
Hunter, like Simpson, has said he will not seek reelection next year.