Dick Dickerson recall, Redding, California (2009)

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An effort to recall Dick Dickerson and Mary Stegall, members of the Redding City Council in Shasta County, was launched in August 2009. In September 2009, the effort was abandoned when recall supporters decided that it would be too expensive and cumbersome to collect the number of signatures needed to force a recall.[1],[2] Dickerson was elected to the city council in 2004.

Background

Russell Hunt and a group called Citizens for Responsible Government led the recall effort. Hunt is a teacher who once ran for the Redding City Council.[3]

According to Hunt, those supporting the recall effort believed that Dickerson and Stegall should be removed from office because:

  • They allowed "ten millions of dollars to be transferred from REU (Redding Electric Utility) to the General Fund in the form of interest income, late fees and in lieu of property taxes in violation of Article 13 of the California Constitution."
  • They approved "two motel tax increases without a vote of the people."
  • They raised "garbage, sewer and water rates without a vote of property owners from 1998-2008."
  • They obligated "the taxpayers to nontraditional projects, such as Turtle Bay and Big League Dreams, while endangering the finances of the City."
  • They gave "excessive pay and benefits to city management."
  • They jeopardized "the City's future by granting full health and retirement benefits to most employees beyond the ability of the City to pay for such."
  • They continued "the illegal practice of evicting people from their homes if they do not have electrical service."[3]

For the recall questions to go on the ballot, about 9,000 signatures of Redding voters would have been required.[3]

Reaction of Dickerson

Dickerson's response to the accusations in the proposed recall petition was "We ought to take this and spread it on our lawn and watch the grass turn green" and "It's nonsense. If there was any merit to any of this, they would have to be recalling more than two on the council. They should not be trying to recall two for taking actions that require three votes at a minimum. In some cases, there were four or five."[3]

Reaction

An editorial by a local website stated that the efforts for recall were motivated more by revenge than anything else. The article stated that Dickerson and others should not be used as scapegoats for a bad economy and other problems associated with the area. According to the commentary, “The highest possible bar should be set for launching recalls against fairly elected leaders. The charges against Stegall and Dickerson are no more than political disagreements and don't come close to meeting that test. If someone asks you to sign this recall petition, just say "No, thanks," and help stop this misguided effort before it begins.”[4]

Mary Stegall

When the recall effort was first announced, it included Dickerson and Mary Stegall. In late August, recall organizers decided to focus their efforts solely on Dick Dickerson.

Recall organizer Hunt said of the decision to drop Stegall from their list of recall targets, "Our approach is to have Dickerson recalled at the November election, and thus there would be four seats open in the election, hopefully to create a conservative supermajority on the council. This also gives us extra time to prepare for that goal."[5]

See also

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References