How Could Recall Vote Happen? Readers Have Some Answers
* I read with amusement Prof. Vince Buck’s June 14 Op-Ed piece (“After 90 Years Without One, How Could Fullerton Recall Happen?”) wherein he attributes the Fullerton council recall to “lack of an informed electorate.” As a former Fullerton resident who still works in that fine city, I think I am qualified to offer a better “reason” why the “uninformed” gave the City Council the boot.
Clearly, the electorate for once was too well informed about the condition of their city. Most of the time, we Orange County residents are too busy to bother with the everyday workings of local government and rely on the knowledge of a small cadre of better informed voters to decide who gets to represent us locally. It is only when we, the great unwashed voters, become informed of the true behavior of our elected representatives or see the direct results of their folly that we make our presence felt in local elections.
Only a fool or a political science professor could think that raising taxes in a city where incomes are flat or falling is a prudent policy. That 48 bucks that is being extracted from the average resident every year is not being replaced by pay raises. It means two pairs of children’s dress shoes, seven movie tickets or even a single political science textbook that a Fullerton resident will not be able to afford this year.
Obviously somebody made a mistake in letting residents become aware that the council approved a utility tax increase while the city’s (and county’s) largest employer is considering whether to close its plant in Fullerton. Undoubtedly, that employer has been considering how much more than $4 a month they are paying in utility taxes before they make their decision to close a plant that employs over 6,000 people. One thing is certain, however. The next City Council will not make the mistake that the current one made.
What is particularly amusing is how the local intelligentsia rationalize their disappointment in the Great Unwashed. “It is only because we need to educate the voters!” they say. Maybe the voters are better informed than they realize.
* The Fullerton Recalls Committee is very disappointed that The Times published the column by Vince Buck in the manner that it did. The ordinary reader would guess that the column is an objective analysis by an aloof academic. Nothing could be less true.
Vince Buck repeatedly wrote anti-recall letters to the anti-recall newsletter, The Fullerton Observer. He lent his name to anti-recall propaganda. He campaigned against the recall. He is hardly disinterested. Yet The Times lent his position authority by noting that he is “a political science professor at Cal State Fullerton.”
We think that The Times did better when it printed the neutral comments by Prof. Mark Petracca of UC Irvine, who was uninvolved with the Fullerton recall.
W. SNOW HUME
Secretary, Fullerton Recalls Committee
* Assuming he was accurately quoted, the comments of UC Irvine’s Mark Petracca (“Officials Feel Voter Unrest in Fullerton, Westminster,” June 9,) concerning the Fullerton recall effort were shocking. His sweeping statements, made with no contextual reference to the issues involved, reflect a lack of balance and objectivity.
When Mr. Petracca states that he was " . . . delighted that someone finally got recalled, because it is going to scare the pants off every elected official in this county who thinks it can’t happen to them . . . , " he in effect is arguing that issues aren’t important. He is arguing that the divisiveness caused by the recall, and the chilling impact it is already having on city employees and potential candidates for the City Council, are of little concern. Mr. Petracca implies that it is of small comparative importance that the agenda of the recall proponents, if implemented, will drastically reduce revenue and strip away vital services. Rather, he would have us believe that none of these consequences is as important as the fact that the recall of three dedicated council members will “scare the pants off” other elected officials.
Well, I live in Fullerton and I can tell you that I am scared--not only of what will most likely be the profoundly adverse consequences of the recall, but also of the potential damage caused by the irresponsible utterances of individuals who certainly should know better.
TED A. GIBSON
* I have so many thoughts today--astonishment, anger and mostly sadness for our wonderful city. Has the world gone mad? Or, has the economy frightened good people until they can no longer reason? Voters’ apathy has destroyed a good and caring council. We are all poorer today from this selfish action of a few disgruntled people.
* (Vince Buck’s) words, (referring to the people behind the recall): “Who are they? A group of previously uninvolved individuals who met at a Ross Perot rally and who share a general distrust of government and a lack of faith in elected leaders and civil servants.”
Who are they really? Members of United We Stand America, a citizen volunteer group promoting government and economic reform. They are organized in every congressional district in the nation.
According to Mr. Buck, the council’s alarm bells should have gone off when “a woman was recently elected without previous experience in civic affairs. Her victory demonstrated that there was a large group of voters who were easily influenced by slick campaign techniques,” (he wrote). This is news to him? How else can Bill Clinton’s election be explained? Perhaps her victory demonstrated the fact that the “residents who don’t know what is happening in the city” actually have the situation well in hand.