Dan Chin recall, Hanford, California (2011)
Chin was first elected to the Hanford City Council in 2000. He was re-elected with no opposition in 2004. In 2008, he was re-elected in a hotly-contested electoral battle against Mike Spicer, a retired California Highway Patrol officer. Chin's current term is set to end in 2012. In February 2012, Chin announced that he would not be seeking re-election.
Reasons for recall
Supporters of the recall included Albert Cano. Cano is a police sergeant in Hanford. Cano filed the notice of intention to circulate a recall petition.
Justin Vallin, president of the Hanford police officers association, also supported the recall. He said, "He’s the dictator of the council. He’s not a leader — he’s dictating these decisions. ... We think there is a huge problem with Mr. Chin. He’s the one who has the most tenure, so the expectations are higher."
Recall organizers accused Chin of wasteful spending and "abusing the trust of the public."
In November 2011, the Hanford Sentinel reported that Chin had been the subject of a sexual harassment claim 13 years ago. Chin did not confirm or deny the allegations.
Opponents of the recall included Gene Campbell, who administered a page on Facebook called the "Support Dan Chin City Councilperson."
Campbell said, "I’m not supporting him just as a mayor — I’m supporting his entire public service career. He goes through great pains to do what he does. It’s not for money or fame. He does it to give back to the city of Hanford. Everything he does has been charitable work or public service."
Path to the ballot
In early September, Hanford's city clerk Pam McCarthy rejected the petition text that supporters of the recall had submitted for pre-circulation clearance. She said that the text they submitted did not conform to the laws governing recall in California. McCarthy mentioned typographical errors, missing words and formatting issues in the reasons she gave for rejecting the draft petition.
McCarthy said that rejecting the first draft of a recall petition is common: "In my experience, I’ve never had one be 100 percent correct the first time out, and I’ve had them returned as many as five times. This is a very difficult process. Generally, it’s conducted by citizens who don’t work for government. They don’t know the ins and outs in the world of regulations."
On November 4, McCarthy certified the recall petition. Recall organizers had a deadline of January 30, 2012 to collect 1,098 signatures from voters in Chin's district. If enough signatures were to have been collected, the recall question would have appeared on the June 5th, 2012 primary election ballot.
On November 19, the recall effort was abandoned. Recall organizers said they wanted to focus their time and energy on supporting Mike Spicer, who recently announced he will run for city council in the regularly scheduled November 2012 election. In the 2008 race, Chin defeated Spicer with 51 percent of the vote to Spicer’s 38 percent. Chin has not yet announced whether he will run again.
- Hanford Sentinel, "Recall backers file papers, call Chin 'dictator'," August 18, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Chin to step down, cites health issues," October 31, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Anti-Chin group drops recall effort," November 21, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Chin won’t run for re-election," February 18, 2012
- Hanford Sentinel, "Chin recall petition shot down again," October 29, 2011
- SF Gate, "Report: former Hanford mayor faces old allegations," November 12, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Chin supporters strike back against recall effort," August 19, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Recall petition rejected by city clerk," September 14, 2011
- Hanford Sentinel, "Chin recall petition certified," November 4, 2011