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MailTribune.com
  • Recall for the wrong reasons hurts Gold Hill

  • My husband, Peter, and I moved into the Gold Hill area in 1977, when our golf course opened for business, and when our son was born in 1981 we moved into the city and have been residents of Gold Hill ever since. For our purposes, it was ideal: a small, semi-rural community with a nice river beach and two good public schools, not far from the larger towns of Grants Pass and Medford in either direction.
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  • My husband, Peter, and I moved into the Gold Hill area in 1977, when our golf course opened for business, and when our son was born in 1981 we moved into the city and have been residents of Gold Hill ever since. For our purposes, it was ideal: a small, semi-rural community with a nice river beach and two good public schools, not far from the larger towns of Grants Pass and Medford in either direction.
    I have been active in Gold Hill government for over 20 years, including two terms on the City Council and one (at present) as mayor. Since 1981, there have been 10 recall elections, five succeeding and five failing. Every time there is a recall election, the city takes about three giant steps backward, and necessary plans, programs and municipal issues are placed on the back burner while we deal with politics (I know, because I've survived two of them).
    A recall petition has recently been circulated for four councilors as a result of their majority vote allowing the city to issue a business license for a medical marijuana dispensary.
    In the city of Gold Hill, we have a representative government, consisting of six democratically elected councilors and a mayor, who are delegated to transact city business in meetings open to the public. This does not mean that we get to cry "foul" if these representatives fail to vote the way we want them to. There may be other issues involved that many in the community may not be aware of. The councilors are unpaid volunteers who spend countless hours doing the city's business; if they get voted out, others must be found to replace them and brought up to speed, at a cost of delays that the city, currently under pressure for infrastructure updating, can ill afford.
    I strongly believe that a recall election should be called only for 1) criminal behavior and/or 2) ethics code violations, as defined by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. In all other situations, a person whose views conflict with those of the community can be removed or replaced in the next election; that's how the system is supposed to work.
    The recall is a seriously negative event in a small community like ours. A more city-friendly approach would have been a petition for a special election on the medical marijuana dispensary.
    It is very painful to watch this process again and again. It has been said, "insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results." I hope the voters in Gold Hill will think long and hard if this recall effort goes to the ballot. May they vote wisely.
    Jan Fish is the mayor of Gold Hill.
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