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Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 8/ 4/2004
PRESS CONFERENCE: District 10 recall proponents
Date Wednesday August 04
Time 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location Details
City Hall is located at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, in San Francisco
Event Type Press Conference
Organizer/AuthorWillie Ratcliff
Why won’t Elections director put District 10 recall on Nov. 2 ballot?
Special election would cost hundreds of thousands and disenfranchise voters

This recall is the essence of democracy: citizens determining their own destiny. The thousands who eagerly signed the recall petition – far more than the 3,900 registered voters required – were exercising their right to choose as their district supervisor someone strong and effective enough to solve some of the City’s worst problems, urgent problems, problems of life and death.

But Director of Elections John Arntz says no, an amendment to the City Charter requires a special election in December for the recall. We say that amendment puts the recall on the general election ballot.

The difference hinges on what the voters meant by the word “it” when they approved this Charter amendment in 1996. Arntz admits in a letter we received Thursday that our interpretation is “one possibility”; his is another. A member of the Elections Commission I spoke with says Arntz is dragging his feet.

More than two weeks after we submitted the signatures, on July 19, Arntz admits the Elections Department has not yet checked a single one. State law allows the sufficiency of the signatures to be decided simply by random sampling if a high enough percentage is found to be valid – that is, if the name and address of the petition signer appears on the City’s “master voter file” of registered voters.

But in over two weeks, the Elections Department has not found the time even to perform the random sampling. Clearly, the recall is not a high priority.

What difference does it make if we vote on the recall in November or December? A difference of “hundreds of thousands of dollars” that a special election would cost, according to Arntz’ letter – hundreds of thousands desperately needed in this budget crisis, especially in District 10, to save lives stalked by poverty, prejudice and pollution.

Elections Director John Arntz knows that the recall is the will of the people. The number of people who signed the recall petition he holds is greater than the votes cast for incumbent Sophie Maxwell in either 2000 or 2002. Why is he not doing all he can to support the people of District 10 who want to exercise their democratic rights?

Recall proponents will hold a press conference at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the hallway outside Room 408 of City Hall just prior to the meeting of the Elections Commission and then attend the meeting at 7 p.m. in Room 408. We will ask the commissioners to find a way to put the recall on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

We will tell them how hard we tried to gather sufficient signatures sooner than the little over two months it took. And we will tell how little cooperation we got from the Elections Department – their 10-day delay in approving the petition at the beginning of the process and their refusal to give us an up-to-date “master voter file” until the last two and a half weeks.

We urge all San Franciscans who believe in democracy – and the press dedicated to keeping them an informed electorate – to join us at the press conference and the Elections Commission meeting Wednesday.

The Civil Grand Jury, in a report last month, traced District 10’s dire problems to 60 years of neglect by City Hall. Will City Hall fail us again?

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Aug 3rd, 2004 12:37 PM
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