Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thoughts on the recall... (Sorry Brad)

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Mayor Herenton. I don’t think the city has been managed in the best way, to say the least, I can’t stand the way he damages the perception of this city with his “I was chosen by God”-type remarks, and I am mad as heck about his campaigning last time talking about our wonderful budget surpluses during the campaign. As soon as the campaign was over it changed to “Holy Crap! We have huge deficits. We have to cut everything, lay people off, stop funding the city schools from the city budget, etc.” There are multiple political leaders who I would prefer to sit in that office. And despite what many people say, Herenton is not a Democrat. I don’t think he even really sees himself as one. He is elected to a nonpartisan office, gets most of his money from Republicans, most of his votes from Democrats, and has supported politicians from both parties. Seems like I would be a perfect candidate to sign the recall petition, right? Wrong. The Davis recall in California was wrong. Davis had done nothing illegal and was merely in a bad political position in the middle of his term that any governor would have been in in the same circumstances. It would be hypocritical for me to oppose that recall but support this one. Recalls should only be used in the event of some gross malfeasance. For any other purposes the effects of recalls are too damaging to be worth getting rid of any individual elected official. Herenton won his election fairly (no matter what I thought about it) and handily. If we recalled him it would either go against the will of a democratic election or it would only be overturned quickly with his reelection making him even stronger. My problem is that if we recall elected officials any time they tick us off we turn elected officials into even more spineless wimps than they often tend to be. As it is, they are so concerned with reelection that they are afraid to take strong stances in the event that they may offend some voters and drop in polls. Now put the threat of a recall hanging over their head every single day instead of every few years and show me a politician who is going to take a political stand for what is right.
Ignoring that. Who will replace Herenton in the off chance that the recall passes? I said that I could think of several elected officials that I would like better as mayor, but I can think of even more that would be just as bad if not worse. My students are almost finished with their test, so I guess I should actually go back to earning my paycheck.


BraveCordovaDem said...

A recall is not only a good idea, it's necessary. This goes far above partisanship and personalities. Herenton has been in office longer than any of his predecessors. He took over from a Hackett administration that was beginning to bankrupt the City. He shored up City finances and made several improvements. However, his Administration has lost its effectiveness and ability to run the City. Finances are worse than ever. The Mayor himself, due to personality, cannot enact any of his boldest proposals (some of which are very imaginative). There is no vision, the administration is just sitting there and has been for several years.

The four previous mayors were also visionless, perhaps worse than this one. However, two of them had the sense to quit (Loeb and Chandler) when it was clear that their continued presence was negative to the City and the two others were defeated at the polls (Ingram and Hackett).

But Herenton has already announced that he is seeking re-election next year. Due to political realities, a recall is the best chance to set the City on a new course. Even if unsuccessful, a close recall could at least show Herenton and his supporters that his continuation is bad for the City, taking the steam out of his re-election campaign and possibly convincing him to reconsider.

I agree that I have fears of who his replacement might be. However, we are at a point where we have to take that chance. One more thing, I have generally been against term limits in the past but recent history has convinced me that they are needed for City and County elected officials. That’s why we also need a Charter Commission to look at such changes.

I will sign the petition and help if they would like.

Brad Watkins said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brad Watkins said...

So Dave...that being said.....If the recall is on the Aug will you vote?

"hint" before you answer...remember the 208th Ferengi Rule of Acquisition.....

David Holt said...

I was just about to answer but decided to look up what the heck you were talking about. I discovered (a) that you are apparently a nerd and (b) that I better not answer that question. :-)

Brad Watkins said...

A.Yo mama.... sorry could not

B....Good call.

Seriously dude you are on a little bit of ideological thin ice on this one. I did not think that you would want to answer because you would in a heart beat vote to remove Herenton from office. You know it and I know it. You care about honest government, and you care about this city.

Now here is where I am a little fuzzy on your position. You agree that it was wrong for the Mayor and the City Council to basicly...lie about the city's budget problems. You also take him to task for the lay offs, and cuts to services. Yet, because of an unrelated and noncomparable and very PARTISAN Recall effort waaay out in Cali..that somehow this Recall is wrong? You posted that the Recall should be reserved for gross malfeasance...but is a "surprise" deficet of 25 mil dollars not gross malfeasance "he lied for political reasons" about the Fed Ex forum?....How about the endless pilot gravy train?...I could go on, but know this all just as well as I do.
Ok, so ideologically you are supportive of the reasons for Recall, but not the Recall?.
That does not make sense, as you would most likely vote for Recall if it was on the ballot. Why is the starting point for a legal recall effort wrong, but the ending point ok?