Hercules City Council recall targets Don Kuehne and Joanne Ward are fighting back with flyers that just hit mailboxes around town.
In one mailer (see link below) former Hercules Mayor Charleen Raines defends Kuehne’s actions during the meltdown of its former City Manager Nelson Oliva. And Kuehne writes in his that many of the budget decisions that led to the city’s financial troubles were made before he even took office.
Ward’s mailer focuses on her work on the new library and favorable testimonies from people such as former Councilman Frank Batara and retired Hercules Police Chief Mike Tye about her other city initiatives, a clear attempt to persuade voters that her candidacy has been about more than the city’s budget and management problems. It makes no mention of any of the contentious issues for which recall proponents say they seek her removal.
Updated information: The joint mailer (see second link below) points the nasty finger of blame for all the city’s woes on Hercules’ three former city managers — Nelson Oliva, Mike Sakamoto and Ken Hobbs. What? Are city managers like tornadoes that descend without notice on a helpless community or are they hired by city councils?
Ward was on the council that hired the last two city managers. Kuehne can legitimately claim that he didn’t hire any of them, although he did vote to bring Oliva back after the council canned interim city manager Charlie Long for so-called insubordination. (Long had put out a series of grim memos about the city’s sad state of affairs.)
The other page of the Ward-Kuehne flyer promotes four reforms: Shift to an elected city clerk and treasurer as a means to promote more open government; adopt a city ordinance that bans its city manager from consulting with other cities and prohibits the hiring of anyone as city manager who has worked in real estate development; create an employee whistle-blowing program; and put an end to “semi-secret” meetings scheduled at inconvenient times and designed to subvert public participation.
Wow. The recall targets are running as the reform candidates. Who would have predicted it?
I suspect it will all be too little and too late to save the incumbents, but we’ll see what happens in the June 7 election.
Former Councilman Ed Balico would have been recalled if he had not resigned. Three people seek his vacant seat — Dan Romero, Sherry McCoy and Mark Anthony Jones.
If Ward is recalled, voters will select among two candidates to replace her — William Wilkins and Virgil De La Vega.
One man seeks to replace Kuehne if the incumbent loses his post — Gerard Boulanger.