Lake Forest residents have been inundated over the past several months with signature gatherers, Council outbursts, and divisive rhetoric, as a group called Committee to Recall City Council Members Voigts, Hamilton & Robinson is attempting to recall City Council members Scott Voigts, Andrew Hamilton, and Dwight Robinson.
Two weeks ago, the group submitted approximately 8,200 recall signatures for each Council member. The Orange County Registrar of Voters has not finished counting the votes to determine whether the group has met the requirement to force a special election in August, September, or October 2016. Counting the votes alone will cost the city of Lake Forest at least $85,000. If the recall is certified, the special election would cost the city at least another $100,000.
In a strange twist, although the Registrar of Voters has not said whether enough signatures have been gathered for the initial recall petition, the group served a second set of recall papers on Hamilton, Voigts, and Robinson after last night’s City Council meeting.
Andrew Hamilton, one of the recall targets, stated “Obviously, Adam Nick knows that the first recall didn’t succeed. Why else would he have personally served me with another set of recall papers? That questions his ability to be looking out for taxpayers in Lake Forest when the Jim Gardner and Adam Nick-supported recall proponents knowingly submitted insufficient recall quantities of signatures. This wasted $85,000 of taxpayer money due to their personal ambition. What budget cuts are we going to need to make because of this? We don’t need a perpetual recall in Lake Forest that continually wastes taxpayers’ money in spreading false accusations. Adam Nick should stop his failed power grab and instead look out for the best interest of Lake Forest taxpayers.”
Jim Gardner, another current Council member who is supporting the recall, and has paid $30,000 to the group, said “I was told by the recall organizers that ‘the second petition was designed to show them [the Gang of 3] that we are not going away. We will continue until they are gone.’ I think the recall supporters achieved enough signatures with the 8,100+ they already submitted, since they were verified by an independent agency. But you can never tell what the authorities will say or do. I was surprised when the DA decided not to prosecute a resident who was accused of assaulting a recall supporter trying to gather signatures. The video, just released, appears to clearly show the assault and eye-witnesses to whom I spoke also claimed that the assault was unprovoked. So you can never tell what will happen, and I think the recall supporters are hedging their bets.”
To the residents of Lake Forest, get ready for Round 2.
[Update] Apparently, the pro-recall forces have failed in their second bid to recall Voigts, Hamilton, and Robinson, as Robinson confirmed that the recall petition was not timely submitted to the City Clerk. While that does not prevent the recall folks from taking a third shot, it does call into question their organization when they cannot meet one of the most basic requirements for a recall effort.