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Recall opponents speak out in force

Meeting’s Public comment dominated by reasons to keep three council members in office
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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This week’s City Council meeting was a win for recall opponents while the previous meeting was a win for recall proponents. Nineteen community members spoke against the recall for 72 minutes Tuesday night during the meeting’s public comment segment. Mayor Paul Joiner and Councilmen Spencer Short and Tom Cosgrove were served with a notice of intent to recall at the March 8 council meeting. Fourteen of the 19 community members speaking at Tuesday’s meeting are listed on the newly formed web site, www.recallno.com, produced by Stand Up For Lincoln, a group that opposes the recall. Former City Council members Kent Nakata and Linda Stackpoole stepped up to the podium to say they opposed the recall. “Elections are conducted every two years. That cycle is to maintain continuity in government and policy setting in the city of Lincoln,” Nakata said. “In recalling the incumbent councilmen, (the city) will lose vital knowledge and resources. The recall will cause the city to have a brain drain. Think about the history, knowledge and resources that will be lost.” Stackpoole, who lost her City Council seat in November’s election, spoke about the effect the last recall in 1994 had on the city. “People who were friends for years stopped talking to each other and it took years to get back the quality of life,” Stackpoole said. “A recall is to remove corrupt elected officials, committing malfeasance or fraud. That didn’t happen in the ‘90s and it’s not happening today. I urge the citizens of Lincoln: don’t make the same mistake again.” Larry Whitaker announced the formation of Stand Up For Lincoln and its web site. “I am absolutely against this baseless recall,” Whitaker said. “We are doing the best we can to put in there the facts.” Planning Commission member Dan Cross noted that the recall could affect Lincoln’s future development. “It seems that, in other conversations I’ve had with developers, when they get wind of a thing called recall, they wash their hands and stay away,” Cross said. “We can’t afford that. We need every bit of activity so we can again become the leader in the development community.” Several speakers brought up the price of a recall election. “It is a waste of limited financial resources, signing the recall petition is one of the most financially irresponsible acts,” Denny Valentine said. “In talking with the county elections office, I found out that such a recall election will require the city to reimburse the county for $100,000 to $150,000, approximately $4 to $6 for each registered voter.” There are 23,876 registered voters in Lincoln, according to previous News Messenger reports. Jim Datzman said the website that is for the recall “refers to members as ‘Team Bob.’ That website is www.recall4lincoln2011.com. “Although the team asks for donations and volunteers, (there is) no information on the site about supporters and endorsers, the estimated cost of a recall and who would be responsible for the cost,” Datzman said. “A municipal election is held every two years, at which time incumbent City Council members are held accountable for their actions, not a costly election from members of Team Bob.” There were only two public comments made that did not address advocating against the recall. Lincoln Crossing Homeowners Association member Keith Schmidt talked about concerns of police moving next to the Lincoln Crossing Clubhouse and a nearby Highway 65 bypass onramp’s lack of access. And Don Thomas complained about potholes on Ninth Street. Thomas also threw in a comment about the recall. “I too faced a recall at one point, I was on a City Council and I stuck my chin out there. I’m just saying, ‘Gentlemen, keep your chin up,’” Thomas said. “I have never seen so much politicking in this building. The only politicians that should be talking are right there (City Council).” For related story, see Councilmen respond to recall notices