George Huntington and Robert Lombardo recall, Yucca Valley, California (2013)

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An effort to recall George Huntington and Robert Lombardo from their respective positions as Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem of Yucca Valley, California was launched in April 2013. Recall supporters have submitted signatures to election officials to force a vote on the proposed recall and are awaiting verification of the signatures.[1] The recall did not go to a vote because supporters of the effort failed to collect enough valid signatures.[2]

Background

In November 2012 George Huntington and Robert Lombardo were elected to the town council. However, by April 2013 a group had formed to recall the two men. Recall supporter Ron Cohen said the effort was about "the Town Council and specifically their failure to listen to the citizens." The group admitted it hoped to recall more of the council, but was focusing on Huntington and Lombardo to start. The group also provided a longer term "restoration plan" for the town.[3][4]

Opponents of the recall also emerged vocally. Recall opponent Joe Sullivan stated, "We believe that the recall process is being used in this case as an end-run around democracy and fair and open elections."[3]

Reasons for recall

On the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petitions for George Huntington, recall supporters explained their reasons for the recall effort. It read:[5]

  1. You approved a three-year contract for the Town Manager’s services that brought his annual compensation to nearly $300,000 while the Town is facing a budget shortfall, then cut/reduced highly-valued community programs and the personnel to deliver those programs;
  2. You voted to exceed the cost proposals for the animal shelter and a town park without identifying a funding source to pay for the excess;
  3. You approved use of over $100,000 in public funds to promote a general fund tax measure;
  4. You improperly used your position as Town Council Member to solicit funds for a general fund tax measure from entities that did business with the Town;
  5. You voted to permit the Town Manager to pursue yet another tax measure proposal against the will of the residents of Yucca Valley;
  6. As Mayor, you voted to appoint individuals to two vacated Council seats while ignoring public outcry for an election to fill those seats. One seat had nearly the entire four years remaining.

These are examples of your failure to exercise your fiduciary and ethical responsibilities as Council Member and your failure to represent the will of the registered voters of Yucca Valley.[6]

On the Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petitions for Robert Lombardo, recall supporters explained their reasons for the recall effort. It read:[5]

  1. You approved a three-year contract for the Town Manager’s services that brought his annual compensation to nearly $300,000 while the Town is facing a budget shortfall, then cut/reduced highly-valued community programs and the personnel to deliver those programs;
  2. You voted to exceed the cost proposals for the animal shelter and a town park without identifying a funding source to pay for the excess;
  3. You approved use of over $100,000 in public funds to promote a general fund tax measure;
  4. You voted to permit the Town Manager to pursue yet another tax measure proposal against the will of the residents of Yucca Valley;
  5. You approved cuts and reductions to quality-of-life programs that are essential to the safety of our children and well-being of our community. These cuts and reductions represented only a small portion of the Town's overall budget and were enacted to punish the community, not balance the budget.

These are examples of your failure to exercise your fiduciary and ethical responsibilities as Council Member and your failure to represent the will of the registered voters of Yucca Valley.[6]

Opposition to recall

The recall opposition stated on their website:[7]

Does the Recall of Yucca Valley Town Councilmembers Huntington and Lombardo bother you?

  • When we elect officials to office - they should be respected in their office UNLESS it can be proven that they have broken their oaths of office or otherwise violated the public trust.
  • If a councilmember needs to be replaced…elections are the best way to make changes in the composition of the council and there is an opportunity to do that every two years.

It seems that everything we read and hear from those who support this recall is angry and negative. If you go to their website you may find the site disappointing.

  • There are six “charges” against Huntington and five against Lombardo, yet these charges are very general and surprisingly non-specific.
  • There's another section of their website captioned "Evidence" - yet only one of their erroneous charges are discussed there.

One can only wonder what really motivates these recall proponents. They use terms like "accurate information" and "evidence" - yet they deliver neither in support of their claims and charges against those they want to recall.

  • Have you noticed that they are using the catch-phrase "Recall and Restore?"
  • Restore what?
  • They offer nothing to explain what form that “restoration” would take.
  • For example, who is going to run for office if we have a Special Election to recall Huntington and Lombardo?
  • Who are their leaders?
  • What kind of future do they offer the community of Yucca Valley?

We need to hear a much more convincing argument before we are ready to trust these people who are great at accusations - but elusive in their disclosure about themselves.

It's like picking up a hamburger and finding that there's no meat in the middle.[6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in California

Recall supporters had until September 10, 2013 to gather 2,461 signatures (25 percent of registered voters in Yucca Valley) to trigger a recall election. On the day of the deadline, recall supporters reported submitting approximately 2,720 signatures, 10 percent above the requirement. Ultimately, however, the number of valid signatures fell short.[1]

See also

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