The Grand County recall epidemic
December 4, 2008
Recall elections are, at best, blunt instruments ” wild, angry swinging of a club in our democratic china shop.
A recall should be the last resort ” an extreme measure to cope with an extreme situation.
Instead, in Grand County, it seems to be a first response.
On Friday, a group calling themselves the Concerned Citizens turned in 445 signatures from voters requesting a recall of three Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District board members.
More than a week ago, a member of the Grand Lake Recreation District board announced he was launching a recall effort for the board’s newly appointed president.
At the risk of sounding flippant, “Come on, people!”
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We elect officials to represent us. We make our decision about their character, their judgment and their point of view on Election Day. From that point forward, they represent us for the remainder of their term ” be it two, four or six years.
During those years, every elected official will make a mistake. They are, after all, human. They will say stupid things. They will misunderstand and misjudge. And they will make these mistakes in public for all of us to see ” and remember.
But they will also give hours upon hours each week to serve the public good, doing a job that few others want to do, to give back to their communities. Some receive stipends, but in Grand County those stipends rarely amount to more than pennies on the dollar for hours spent.
If we make these positions oppressive, with recalls lurking around every corner, who will run?
There are few blunders so severe that these public servants deserve a recall by the voters.
Recalls should be reserved for gross misuse of power and for criminal activity ” not for disagreements of opinion.
If the issue is a philosophical disagreement, the correct course of action is to begin campaigning now for the next election cycle. Find a candidate who represents your point of view and stand behind them. Or run yourself.
Then, let the voters decide.
Recall elections are time consuming and disruptive.
Worse, in this economically strapped time, they are expensive.
They pit people against each other and anyone who has lived here through a recall or two, knows that those divisions take years to heal ” if they ever do.
During this economic crisis, our community will need to work together to survive. The more divisions there are, the more difficult that will be.