OPINION

One of two views on the Dunsmuir recall: Reject it

Guest opinion by Pamela S. Padula, Dunsmuir

Dunsmuir needs a forensic audit, not a recall. Implying politics are volatile in Dunsmuir is an understatement. Every few years, the same group of people sponsor a divisive recall effort against council members they do not like or agree with.

In 2010, their successful recall effort centered on water/sewer rate increases and medical marijuana. Proponents then as now trained their focus on personalities of those they hoped to remove.

Current recall candidate Leslie Wilde threatens hidden secrets about misuse of power and funds.

Upon taking office, 2010 recall sponsors assumed the “Animal Farm” behavior formerly criticized, becoming pompous prosecutors of anyone challenging decisions, including a hypocritical vote raising the same water/sewer rates they previously decried as recall candidates. Yes, the rumor you’ve always heard about the city improperly running off the backs of rate payers is true. As council members, they held special meetings at inopportune times of the day, limited public criticism, and bellowed at the public challenging their conduct.

Now in a version of political “Groundhog Day,” the same recall sponsors are back, using recycled arguments against council member Wilde whom they too want to recall because like before, they do not like her personally or agree with her political positions, even when holding the same positions while in office.

Recall efforts are an existing tool for the electorate and should be exercised with restraint, reserved for severe ethical and/or criminal violations. Anything short of a commanding reason is damaging to the office, reflecting badly on those initiating these campaigns.

In 2012, Leslie Wilde ran for city council against incumbents and candidates. Out of 1425 votes cast, she came within only 35 votes of defeating the person becoming mayor. Months later when the next mayor resigned, the remaining council members respected the voters’ will, appointing Wilde to the remaining term.

Leslie Wilde, the only council member never voting for water rate raises, set about fulfilling her campaign to provide more water for less money in summer months, repeal the expensive ban on medical marijuana cultivation and “fight for families, fairness and the little guy”.

Wilde didn’t believe her appointment required she agree to overlook her fellow council members’ unethical behavior, vote their way nor endure unfettered personal attacks from audience, city manager and two council members from council seats.

Leslie supports accountability, a community vegetable garden, transparent government and a council governed by protocols fostering fairness and power sharing between members. She is brilliant and tough, performing thorough research on every aspect of her position.

Leslie uncovered the overcharging of residences’ garbage fees, stashed in an account known as the Golden Honey Pot by those with access and in the know, paying for items the city could not otherwise afford, propelling the moving of money from accounts limited by Proposition 218.

Wilde is calling for a forensic audit of all funds and grants, close review of the solid waste fund that by law should be refunded to the customers overcharged, and scrutiny and pursuit of business loans not repaid though currently draining city coffers and perceived by many as a political persecution tool used against some.

Leslie Wilde voted to end the contract with the prior city attorney, feeling past legal advice led to expensive lawsuits almost bankrupting the city. Days ago, a $300,000 bill was presented the city from SCORE for past legal actions and threat of new suits now under question.

Recalls are an admirable solution to corruption and malfeasance, but in Dunsmuir they have become a form of public abuse, used to spread hate and ridicule, discredit to prevent disclosure and exert control, intimidating citizens or council members they wish to bully into compliance. Some council members have recently been physically threatened both orally and in writing. The closer to disclosure the quorum becomes, the louder and more aggressive the guilty offenders.

My hope is people realize attempting to remove Leslie Wilde is costly both financially and spiritually; distracts thoughtful debate on the merits of relevant policies; harms the salient office of city council; and reaffirms the distinctly negative political precedent for ugly divisive Dunsmuir politics.

Please “Vote No on the Recall”. Leslie Wilde’s looking out for the citizens’ interests.