Residents delivered nearly 25,000 signatures to City Hall last week to demand recall elections for Mayor A.B. (Buck) Catlin and City Clerk Anne M. York.
Deputy City Clerk Audrey Culver said a rough count showed 12,636 people are seeking a recall election for Catlin because of his vote in favor of a 2% utility tax, and 12,312 want to recall York because she earlier rejected recall petitions that were longer than the law allowed.
Culver will give the signatures to the county Registrar of Voters for tallying. At least 8,330 valid signatures of registered Fullerton voters must be on each list. A recall election could be held June 7.
Recall petitions aimed at City Council members Don Bankhead and Molly McClanahan were filed earlier in the month.
Catlin, a council member since 1982, defended his vote for the utility tax, which ran into stiff opposition during public hearings last summer.
Catlin said his job is to know more about the city’s fiscal situation than most residents and to make tough financial decisions.
“The facts were on my side, the law was on my side and my philosophy was that I needed to protect the city’s investment,” Catlin said. He said he will likely mount a joint election campaign with fellow recall targets Bankhead and McClanahan, who also supported the utility tax.
York has defended her handling of the rejected petitions, which she said violated state law requiring that they be shorter than 200 words.
Thomas S. Babcock, chairman of the Fullerton Recalls Committee, said he and other business people began to study the 1993-94 budget early last spring and believed that a utility tax was not needed.
“If they had cut 2% across the board, then there wouldn’t be a problem,” Babcock said.
He said the recall campaign was started because the council refused to approve an advisory vote on the tax by residents.
“If you truly represent the majority of the people, then you should put it out as an advisory vote and let the people decide,” Babcock said.