Rumor: Crawford recall
Council member-elect Bill Crawford said he was amused by rumors that there may be an effort afoot to have him recalled.
Duane Wallace, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce executive director, said people have approached the chamber about the possibilities of recalling Crawford, but he would not comment further. A copy of the section of the California Municipal Law Handbook detailing the recall process had found its way on to Wallace’s desk Tuesday.
Crawford, a longtime resident who has been vocally critical of planned city redevelopment projects, was elected by pulling in about 13 percent of the city vote. He finished third behind Hal Cole and Brooke Laine in a nine-candidate race where the top three vote-getters would hold council seats.
Current council member Tom Davis, who supports redevelopment and has debated with Crawford at many council meetings, said he is willing to give Crawford the benefit of the doubt and see how he performs before considering a recall.
“As far as I’m concerned, our slate is clean with Mr. Crawford. As an elected official, I owe it to him, the rest of the council and the people,” Davis said.
Council members Judy Brown and Cole, as well as council member-elect Laine, said they didn’t know anything about a recall. Cole added he thought it was a little early to be talking about recalls while Laine said, “It would be unfortunate if that’s where this is headed.”
Outgoing council member Kevin Cole, who did not seek re-election, said he had heard the same rumor but hadn’t heard it attributed to anyone. He agreed with Hal Cole that it was too early to talk recall.
Crawford said he was not disturbed nor even surprised by the mumblings of a recall.
“If a whole bunch of people out there are unhappy, go for it. Although, I would put up vigorous opposition to a recall since I haven’t done anything yet,” Crawford said.
The city has current plans to tear down the U.S. Highway 50 corridor in the Park Avenue area and replace the older properties with large hotels, a convention center and other amenities. Crawford has argued that the city’s Redevelopment Agency, already in debt from past projects, should not undertake the two state line projects, the Park Avenue Project and Project 3.
While the current council members support redevelopment, with the possible exception of outgoing member Margo Osti, Crawford likely won’t. Osti, who decided not to seek re-election, has been critical of council decisions – and voted against motions – to spend money on Park Avenue without a contract with American Skiing Company, the main private developer.
Construction is scheduled to be begin on Park Avenue in 1999.
While arguably amusing, the possibility of a recall any time in the near future is zero.
According to the California Municipal Law Handbook’s section on elections, recall proceedings may not be commenced until the officer in question has been in office for more than 90 days. After that, there is a lengthy process with several phases including signatures from 25 percent of city voters.
Crawford, who will take his council seat Dec. 4, pointed out the recall process would likely be long and expensive for the city.
As far as to those ardent supporters of redevelopment who may like to see his council tenure short-lived, Crawford said, “They should have put up a candidate who would have made a better showing. Maybe they will now.”
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