Recall!

SOC collected some 4100 signatures, surpassing the required 3500, to get the recall they're demanding. Now, the field is wide open to replace Jay Imperial and Gary Taylor. It's expected that several candidates will run, including candidates not endorsed by SOC.

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"This is not as easy as it looks"

[Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts, "The Princess Bride," 1987, when Westley is climbing up that unscalable cliff]

I think the recent successful recall of Governor Grey Davis makes people think it's actually pretty easy to hold a recall election. Obviously, it's not. I don't think even most SOC members realize the size of the cliff we had to scale to qualify this recall.

When his opponents wanted to hold a recall against Gov. Davis, the number of signatures they needed to gather was just 12% of the number of people who voted in the previous gubernatorial election. If such a standard had applied in Rosemead [12% of the number of people who voted in the last election that put Taylor and Imperial into office], we would only have needed about 150 signatures to qualify the recall.

Instead, we needed to gather a number equal to 20% of the number of voters registered in Rosemead. That was about 3500 verfied signatures. And we actually got about 4,100 signatures!

All signatures needed to be witnessed by a voter registered in Rosemead. And, unlike in the gubernatorial recall, we did not have the money to pay signature gatherers $5 or $10 a signature. Also, because of the small size of the city, there really aren't many places you can sit down and have the voters come to you. So, for example, many of the signatures gathered at places like Beaches or Rosemead Supermarket ended up not counting; the signatories were often not Rosemead registered voters.

So it came down to going door-to-door. When you do that, you can at least have a list of the registered voters, so you know who to ask for at each door. You also realize how many people have moved since the last time the voter rolls were purged.

Beyond that, you realize that there are a lot of doors you can't even get to. Locked gates or large dogs can keep you away. And once you knock on the door, often times no one will answer, even when you *know* someone is home. Or many times the person who answers either doesn't want to talk to you or does not speak the same language you do. And if they do talk to you, you've go to persuade them [against all the cynicism of politicans, door-to-door solicitors, and the like] to sign their name, print their name, and include their address. And you also have to hope they sign it the same way they registered their names.

Yet, despite all these barriers, we did it!

*****

It has been over 30 years since anybody tried to recall a city council member in Rosemead. Obviously, Jay Imperial and Gary Taylor realized this, and they realized the many barriers that even a relatively large and highly motivated group like SOC would face in qualifying a recall. So it's hardly surprising that when we first started talking about a recall, they literally laughed in our faces. Jay snorted, "If you get enough signatures for a recall, I'll resign." Well, we did, and he, obviously, did not.

All of which makes it even more galling that, when asked about the recall on the day we handed in those boxes of petitions, Jay lauded the five city council members that had the "brass" to vote for the Wal-Mart.

Yes, Jay. It takes real courage to vote with Goliath against David. They all knew Wal-Mart would back them in their elections. And they "knew" that there was no way a bunch of amateurs could qualify a recall against them.

Well, they were right about the first part. Wal-Mart spent nearly $75,000 in support of the three incumbents that were up for election last March. [Wal-Mart spent over $1 million on their campaign in Inglewood!]. But they were wrong about the second part. And we've obviously got them scared. That's why they're trying to expedite the new EIR and reapprove the supercenter. But we're not going to let them. . . .

"And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground." [Preacher Purl, "Hoosiers," 1986, in the locker room, before the big game against South Bend Central. See, also, 1 Samuel 17:49]

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