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FULLERTON : Council Quits Fight on Special Election

The City Council this week announced it will not appeal an Orange County Superior Court order to hold a special election on Oct. 18 to replace three recalled council members.

Judge Donald E. Smallwood last month ruled in favor of the Fullerton Recalls Committee in a lawsuit seeking the October special election. He later upheld his own ruling and denied a request by the city to reconsider his order.

The only option left to stop the special election from occurring in October would be to file an appeal, but it could take the appellate court longer than a year to hear the case, city officials said. As a result, council members decided to stop fighting.

“The judge ruled that if an appeal was filed, it would not stop his order,” Councilman Don Bankhead said. “By the time an appeal reached an appellate court, the election would already be over with and that would not benefit the city. The whole purpose for the appeal is to try to stop the (Oct. 18) election to save money.”

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The winners of the special election will replace Bankhead, Molly McClanahan and Mayor A.B. (Buck) Catlin until their terms expire. Bankhead’s term is up in 1996. McClanahan’s and Catlin’s seats expire in November. Whoever replaces them will serve for about two weeks and then face reelection in November.

Before Smallwood ordered the special election in October, the council was going to consolidate it with the November general election in an effort to save money. But its plan was foiled when the recalls committee filed suit.

The recall effort began last year when McClanahan, Bankhead and Catlin voted to levy a 2% utility tax, despite protests from hundreds of residents.

McClanahan and Catlin called the October special election a waste of taxpayers’ money. City Clerk Anne M. York said it will cost about $107,000.

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“This is the biggest foolishness,” Catlin said earlier this week.


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