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Recall attemptmisguidedIt should aim at wrongdoing, not disputes over policy

The city of Medford has now joined some of its smaller neighbors as the scene of a misguided recall attempt. In nearly all cases, recalls are a waste of the organizers' time and taxpayers' money. At the same time, they often are a symptom of an underlying problem that the targets of the recall ignore at their peril.

A group of Medford residents has filed papers seeking the recall of five council members because the residents disagree with a series of council decisions and because the council has failed to communicate with city residents.

We call this effort misguided because it uses a sledgehammer to drive a carpet tack. Recalls should be reserved for officials who use their positions for personal gain, break the law or otherwise act in a manner unbecoming a public servant.

In this case, the petitioners disagree with policy decisions council members made in good faith in the course of performing their duties as elected representatives.

Residents may disagree with those decisions. That's their right. But the remedy is not to forcibly remove the council members from office. Among other things, the recall supporters object to talk of increasing city fees without a public vote, the rapid rate of development in Medford and the failure of the council to make developers pay the costs of that growth.

"Maybe we need some new people with some different priorities to work on all this stuff," recall organizer Dick Simonsen says.

Here's an idea: Find those new people and get them to run against the council members with whom you disagree. There's an election coming up in about three months. Two of the recall targets &

8212; Councilmen Bob Strosser and Skip Knight &

8212; will be on the ballot.

Can't find anyone? File for office yourself. That's how the process is designed to work.

And please, let's not hear any talk about "taxation without representation." Council members are our elected representatives. If they vote to raise taxes or fees, that's taxation with representation. You may not agree with their decision, but the answer is to replace them at the next election, not to recall them.

That being said, the council members under fire should not dismiss this recall effort out of hand &

8212; especially the organizers' complaint that the council doesn't listen to the public. Listening has not always been this council's strong suit.

Recalls are almost always misguided, but they always happen for a reason. The council members named in this one should give some thought to what that reason is.

Supporters of a new bicycle motocross facility separate from the Medford skate park believe it could be constructed for less than the $175,000 the skate park cost to build. An editorial in Friday's paper misstated the cost figure.