Down the Ballot

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recall Wave?

Alex Altman in his blog Swampland on Time.com reported today on the first casualty of the massive wave of recalls that could come our way in 2011. Oregon has already seen it's share of recalls in 2009 where some Clatsop County Commissioners survived and some faltered over the LNG issue. Read more about them at Ballotpeida. Today's unfortunate elected official to be recalled was Carlos Alvarez, the mayor of Miami-Dade county in Florida.

Here is what happened according to Altman,

In the wake of the housing crisis, Alvarez raised property taxes to restock government coffers, orchestrated a deal to put public money toward the Florida Marlins' new stadium, and cut public salaries 5%. At the same time, he was tooling around in a spiffy Beamer purchased with his county car allowance and boosting the pay of top aides.
 The last thing you ever want to do as a public official is appear to be a hypocrite or actually turn out to be one. A Beamer? Really? Does the county staff have no oversight in how public officials spend public money? Alvarez was elected as a Republican to reform county government. Turns out Alvarez was the one reformed into the very political ilk he ran against in 2004.

In Oregon we are the masters of the recall. The modern day recall method in the United States was born in Oregon, right here, in 1908. In the past 103 years, 18 other states have also adopted recall laws for elected officials. Oregon is also one of 9 states that allows for the recall of our members of Congress, yet so far no one is sure if the federal government would actually allow Oregonians to do that as no state has actually tried to recall a member of Congress.

Protesters return to the Wisconsin State Capitol the day after Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) signed the bill that eliminated almost all collective bargaining for most public workers at the state Capitol in Madison Wisconsin March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck
 Ballotpeida keeps a list of recall efforts on their website. For 2011 we can add 16 more recall campaigns from Wisconsin. Those pesky State Senators who decided to move ahead with Governor Walker's plan to strip state employees of their collective bargaining rights are all facing recall efforts. This could be the most organized recall effort in the history of our country. Never before has their been such an organized effort to oust this many state officials in one jurisdiction. The organizers of the recall efforts in Wisconsin need to proceed carefully. If they come off looking mean and out for revenge they will lose for what happened in the capitol they will most certainly lose.

In the coming weeks they must use public opinion (which I do believe is on their side) and the law (which will be figured out soon) as their allies in the effort. Explain why what happened in the State House cannot not be allowed to happen again. Wayne Morse, who is from Wisconsin originally, once said, "The paramount purpose of our constitutional system of government is to promote the general welfare of the people-- not just SOME of the people". Some of the people do benefit from the removal of collective bargaining rights, but all the people will ultimately suffer as government engages in the race to the bottom that has already ruined the private sector for many workers.
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