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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Behind the scenes, a council recall plan

 

August 22, 2019 | View PDF



There’s a quiet effort within the community to recall members of the City Council that voted to accept the resignation of City Manager Scott Hurlbert, and who are seen to be looking to make other changes in the city.

But it’s certainly being done on the down-low.

Although no one is talking openly about any such campaign, those that publicly questioned the council’s recent decisions, particularly about Hurlbert’s separation. Have not confirmed or denied being involved or being approached. But one former mayor and council member, Jack “Woody Colvard,

Colvard says he has talked to several of the residents who were at last week’s meeting and the topic of a recall was approached. “There are a number of people who are discussing a recall and are considering going forward with the recall process.”

Colvard said that he hopes it doesn’t come to that, but residents are wanting something needs to be done.

According to another source with knowledge of the situation but who refused to be identified, there is a group of about 30 people who are organizing a committee to start the recall process. The sources say that the subjects of the recall are Mayor Gilbert Alvarado, Councilmember Manuel Garcia and Mayor Pro Tem Cesar Lopez – the three that have been the majority in the acceptance of the separation, and who originally supported the addition of a plaque on the new veterans memorial listing the council members.

And The Press has confirmed with city staff that there has been a request for information on the process for recalling elected officials.

There had been conversations within the audience following last week’s meeting on Hurlbert’s resignation referring to the possibility of a recall. Every community speaker opposed his separation, with several claiming that the city was not going in the right direction and that there had to be something that could be done.

Mary Crabb-Sharron said at the meeting, “I am really disappointed in the council.” At the same time, Colvard added, “I think that it is shameful the way this has been handled. We know that if Scott was paid that he did not leave voluntarily and I would like to know the reasons why you as a council had a problem with him.”

Colleen Diltz, local resident and photographer, said, “The city is not going in the right direction. There has to be something that can be done.” Tommy Rodriguez, owner of Deluxe Barbershop, who spoke at a recent meeting against the addition of the memorial marker, said, “It seems that there are three of the members who have like a monopoly on the city, and we can’t do anything about it.”

Local farmer and businessman Larry Starrh at the meeting said that the events had the makings of a drama such as in “Game of Thrones,” a show that depicted a kingdom that is deluged with back-room games and deceipt. “It seems that it is a big game.”

Recalling electing officials is not easy, quick orcheap.

The recall process begins with a notice of intention that has to be filed with at least 10 signatures on it. This notice filed states the intent of recalling an elected official. After filing, the officer or officers in the notice are served with the notice, in which they have an opportunity to answer the notice.

The next step is the recall petition process. A petition is circulated and must be signed by a certain percentage of the registered voters. For Shafter, the petition would have to be signed by 10% of the number of registered voters in the city, because there are between 1,000 and 10,000 registered voters in the city. There are 6,658 registered voters in the city, according to the county’s Election Division.

After obtaining the required number of signatures, the petition is then filed. After that, the recall election could be put on the ballot during a normal general election, or a special election can be held.

 

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