By Rick Moore / Escondido Democratic Club
Escondido Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz was handed a copy January 27 of a ‘Notice of Intention to Circulate a Recall Petition’ that begins a legal process to recall her as the third district representative to the City Council.
The petition was apparently drafted by Robroy Fawcett, a local civic activist who has opposed district elections and the district-drawing process at every turn. The petition complains that those signing do not want to be represented by Diaz and feel that waiting until 2016 for an opportunity to elect someone else is too long. It also asks that any future Council vacancy in district three be filled by election, not appointment.
Diaz became the third council district representative as a result of a court settlement. The settlement resolved a lawsuit that claimed city-wide election of Escondido’s Council disenfranchised Latino voters. The City agreed to a settlement that involved drawing four districts. By coincidence, one member of the current council lives in each resulting district. Council members Mike Morasco, who lives in the new district four, and Diaz in the new district three, will be up for re-election in 2016. Ed Gallo, who lives in the first district, and John Masson, who lives in the second district, are up for election this year.
The motivation behind the petition is unclear. The effect is up to conjecture, but should it gain the required approximately 9,000 verified signatures, it would be extremely awkward for a candidate running for Mayor to have appear on the same ballot an initiative to recall her as a Council member. Details to follow as they become available.
A part of the text of the Notice:
“The grounds for the recall are as follows:
“The voters of the Third District deserve a voice NOW in who represents them on the City Council. This recall will allow the voters of this district to choose our representative. Olga Diaz was recently determined to be the incumbent City Council member for our district based on the lines drawn by an unelected commission.
“The City was unable to afford a defense against costly litigation asserting that the voters in our district did not vote for issues and candidates, such as Olga Diaz, at the same rate as voters aligned with her interest. The imposed legal remedy of assigning Olga Diaz to represent our district for not sufficiently supporting her and her issues is not justice for our district. In addition, delaying our vote for nearly three years from the imposition of that unjust remedy further exacerbates the injustice.
“Come November, a possible vacancy in our district would still leave us without a voice because a special election is always considered to be too expensive in our community. This unfair condition is remedied by this recall.
“Please support this recall which can allow our voice to be heard by requiring our vote for City Council to be counted in November.”