Update: Recall of Mission Viejo councilman Lance MacLean

The following Press Release can also be found on the www.missionviejoca.org web site.

Mission Viejo, CA. Let me state that I just contacted one of the key Lance MacLean recall proponents to get an update on their activities and was told that as of Sunday evening they have now exceeded 8,000 signatures towards the 9,350 valid signatures that must be submitted to our City Clerk on or before August 25th to qualify for the ballot. The mandated 9,350 is based on collecting signatures from 15 percent of the registered voters in Mission Viejo.
This volunteer informed me that, based on the facts justifying this action as stated in the petition, the vast majority of those registered voters approached by the volunteers have signed the petitions without the need for any hard sell.

The majority of their signatures have been obtained by standing in front of major grocery stores around the city and speaking to residents as they enter or depart.

There is one issue in question that cannot be defined as stated below. The cost of this election which can be mitigated by cooperative timing. The cost of providing lifetime heath care alone, which, according to an early estimate from Irwin Bornstein, our city Treasurer/Assistant City Manager, was just north of a quarter million dollars for each of the potential beneficiaries. As such that saving would surely exceed whatever the final recall cost may be. Larry Gilbert
 Former Councilwoman Enters the Fray

Press Release

Mission Viejo, CA, June 6, 2009 – For a third time, former councilwoman Sherri Butterfield confronted storefront teams gathering signatures to recall Mission Viejo City Councilman Lance MacLean. She attempted to block residents from signing the petition by creating a scene. She seemed unaware that volunteer workers were taking her picture and videotaping her.

One of the volunteers described the incident, “Sherri just needed some attention. She tried to cause a disturbance in front of several people, and they ignored her. As soon as I asked her a question that made her the center of attention, she changed entirely and became somewhat civil.”

Another volunteer said Butterfield “suffers from post-trouncing syndrome.” Butterfield lost by a landslide in her 2002 reelection bid. She and former councilwoman Susan Withrow got only 5,487 and 4,781 votes, respectively. In comparison, a 2008 council challenger, Michael Williamson, received 7,085 votes as an unknown candidate who didn’t organize a campaign.

The petition lists eight reasons for recalling MacLean. The grounds are based on UCI police records, public records and council meetings. Without any specifics, Butterfield challenged the petition statements when she was in front of the store. She added, “The recall election is going to cost $250,000.”

When one of the volunteers asked about her source of information, Butterfield avoided the question by stating, “I was on the council, and I know.”

While MacLean wrote the $250,000 figure into his rebuttal, Councilman Frank Ury doesn’t agree with the amount of $250,000. He says it will cost $200,000. Another MacLean supporter who has harassed volunteers at storefronts says it will cost $100,000.

Recall proponents responded to MacLean’s $250,000 claim as a gross exaggeration in any scenario. Several factors will determine the cost of the recall. One is the potential of combining it with other ballot measures in the same election. Another is the county’s gravitation toward all-mail ballots to cut costs.

Butterfield also told the storefront volunteers that MacLean had not voted to give himself lifetime medical benefits for serving three terms. The vote took place on Nov. 17, 2008, and it passed 3-2. Others voting with MacLean in favor of lifetime benefits were Ury and Kelley.

Recall proponents expect to succeed in qualifying the recall for the ballot. They added that MacLean’s supporters have been ineffective at stopping the process.

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