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Recall flyer is hit piece, hatchet job

By Stephan Bianchi

In light of the accusations against councilmen Drew Glover and Chris Krohn, I considered signing the petition to recall them. Returning from a long vacation to find a slick mailer urging the recall, I now oppose it. Judging from the mailer, there is more money than substance behind the push.

The mailer, funded by Santa Cruz Together, implies that Mr. Glover and Mr. Krohn are responsible for the deaths of five people and that they wasted nearly a million dollars of city money. This implication is more than disrespectful, more than divisive. These are serious charges backed by no evidence whatsoever.

Of four reasons given for the recall, only one concerns character; the others would indicate that the recall is partisan.

The first is that Glover and Krohn opposed the closing of the Ross camp. As I recall, they opposed its closing by a particular date because a more suitable space could not be prepared in time. Isn’t it better to contain fire, litter, needles and excrement in one place than to disburse them throughout the community? Do you want it all in one camp, under the eye of police and fire personnel, or would you prefer a little in every yard?

Third: Glover is accused of writing a proposal for new homeless camps not less than 25 feet away from residences.

Fourth: The two men are accused of “floating” the idea of a transfer tax.

Whether or not we like these ideas, they are in line with the platform that got them elected. If you believe the job of an elected official is to lead - to take all evidence and opinions into account and do what is best, assuring constituents that the resulting sacrifices are worthwhile, you might be disappointed in these men. But if you believe they are obliged to advance the agenda of those who elected them, you might concede that Krohn and Glover are simply doing their jobs.

The second reason cited is that five responsible people lodged complaints against the two. This is troubling, but a thorough investigation found only that Glover had once been unduly antagonistic in chastising a fellow council member for exceeding a time limit and that Krohn had once laughed inappropriately in the midst of a presentation. This behavior, even toward women, may be worthy of censure, but it hardly demands a recall. It looks as though it is being cited primarily as an excuse to railroad politicians whose policy proposals we dislike.

A recall election called on account of occasional rudeness would establish a dangerous precedent: If we think that impressionable and migratory students shown only one side of an issue are unduly influencing our elections, we need to find some other remedy — students can initiate recall elections, too! If minorities of voters start implementing recall elections targeting any officials they disagree with, fighting recalls may be how most of our politicians will spend their time in the future.

Rather than overturning the popular vote by funding hit pieces and hatchet jobs, I suggest that organizations focus on proposing better solutions to the immensely difficult problems these guys are trying to solve. Gather good data and opinions and craft solid arguments to support your proposals. Rather than harassing those who disagree with you, show us all how to govern responsibly.

Stephan Bianchi is a Santa Cruz resident.

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