Nielsen: Foes seek "revenge"
El Dorado County Supervisor Mark Nielsen responded Tuesday to a recent recall notice in his name by filing a 200-word statement with the county Elections Department.
Stating that a “revenge” election won’t justify the allegations against him, Nielsen used an editorial that appeared earlier this month in the Mountain Democrat as firepower to rebut his opponents.
“More and more we find the political scene poisoned by the fanatical few who refuse to concede the election even after the votes are counted and the other person has won … this (anti-Nielsen) recall is politics at its worst.”
Nielsen had seven days in which to answer his critics who claim that he has overstepped his boundaries as the elected representative from District 3. The supervisor had an extra day to submit his response because of Memorial Day.
He pointed to the 1996 election, in which he narrowly beat his opponent, Carol Louis, by 119 votes, as the final chapter in a saga that has lasted for four years.
“The 1996 District 3 election results were close but clear,” began his recall answer. “It is indeed unfortunate the recall proponents cannot accept the outcome gracefully. They hope to win with falsehoods, hate and hysteria.”
Nielsen added that all of the allegations have been “aired and discredited,” but he didn’t list who had cleared him of the wrongdoings in the statement.
Obviously, some District 3 residents aren’t content with Nielsen’s response or his actions. The Citizens for Ethical Government, a grass-roots group leading the recall charge, started its drive to oust Nielsen last week sending 5,000 mailers, entitled “The Trail of the Trail.” The foldout details the numerous accusations against Nielsen, which range from violations of the state’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, to knocking off fellow Supervisor Sam Bradley from 10 boards and commissions.
It is the Bradley debacle and the appointment of new Sheriff Hal Barker that Nielsen claims are the only legimate-but-suspect reasons for the recall. Recall supporters allege that Nielsen had a conflict-of-interest with the vote of the former Folsom chief because Barker had endorsed Nielsen in his 1996 re-election bid.
A 1994-95 grand jury report said an unnamed supervisor – purported to be Nielsen – committed several acts of misconduct in office. Nielsen has never admitted he is the targeted official and denies all the claims against him.
In order to bounce Nielsen from the board, recall proponents have 120 days to collect approximately 3,367 signatures which equals 20 percent of the registered voters in District 3. The four-month period won’t begin until the Registrar of Voters approves the specifics of the joint petition, outlining the arguments of both Nielsen and his rival faction. Registrar representative Michele McIntyre indicated she may not be able to process the petition until after the June 3 election.
McIntyre’s office will use information compiled in February for an accurate count of the district’s registered voters. She said if all the required signatures are obtained, the earliest date for a recall election would be early 1998.
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