Dan Wilson recall, Portola, California (2012)
Reasons for recall
Recall supporters said that their motivation for going forward with the recall is the fact that Wilson voted in favor of water and sewer rate hikes in a July 2011 vote.
- Official grounds for circulating the recall petition:
“You have refused to consider the concerns of the people of Portola regarding the water and sewer rate hikes. You patronized the people, calling them ‘disgruntled citizens who refused to listen to facts or reason.’ You offered EPCAN food distribution as a viable and ongoing option for those hardest hit by the rate hikes. You have offered no other options or ideas, choosing instead to ignore the question of affordability. You thwarted the efforts of the ad hoc committee you formed, and used a technicality to bring the issue to vote without the foreknowledge of the people of Portola. Even after the vote, you refused any sort of compromise or show of good faith. You have failed to respond to the citizens’ needs and wishes and are refusing to work in their best interests, thus creating an atmosphere of mistrust that has permanently affected your ability to work productively for the city.”
- Mayor Wilson's official response:
“I have not refused to consider the concerns of the people of Portola. On the contrary, my focus has been to make sure that all residents have a long-term, reliable, safe source for drinking water and a sewer system that will fit the needs for years to come. Budget cuts have been implemented, particularly in payroll, but state mandates continue to be an issue in increasing the costs of city government. Changes to the water rate structure and rates promote conservation and are responsive to the state of California green standards. I do not want to postpone the financial responsibility to future generations.As to the ad hoc committee, I did form it and I did disband it, as I did not think it was acting in the best interest of the citizens. I prefer that future discussions be heard by the entire City Council and taped for the public. I have no personal agenda. I have spent countless hours learning the reality of city government and the issues in providing water and sewer utilities. I have, and will continue to have, the best interest of the citizens in mind in all decisions, even the difficult ones.”
Path to the ballot
On August 5th, a group of citizens filed paperwork to notify the Portola City Clerk of their intent to circulate a recall petition.
On October 13th, recall supporter Jeanne Rowden-Dansby turned in 364 signatures to the Portola City Clerk. 269 signatures from registered Portola voters are required to initiate a recall election. 309 signatures were found to be valid. At the December 14th City Council meeting, the date for a recall election was set.
The recall election took place on April 10th, 2012. The ballot had two questions:
- 1) Do you wish to recall Dan Wilson from the City Council — yes or no?
- 2) In the event of a successful recall, which of these candidates do you wish as replacement?
Registered voters wishing to contend for Wilson's seat had the chance to file candidate paperwork between December 21st and January 12th.
Three candidates challenged Wilson. They are John Gault, Phil Oels, and Mike Rush.
- Votes to replace Wilson with Phil Oels: 180
- Votes to replace Wilson with John Gault: 95
- Votes to replace with Mike Rush: 51
- Plumas News, "Special city election April 10 to determine recall," December 21, 2011
- Plumas News, "Portola votes to recall Wilson," April 11, 2012
- Plumas News, "Portola votes 231 to 230 to recall but 16 ballots remain uncounted," April 10, 2012
- Plumas News, "Citizens file intent to recall Mayor Wilson," August 7, 2011
- Plumas News, "Recall petition under discussion," August 24, 2011
- Plumas News, "Candidates line up for recall election," February 8, 2012