Wednesday, March 14, 2007

LA City Recall Ability

In Los Angeles and California, recalls are a reality. And today, LA Obeserved reports on the LA Weekly's story (by the David Zahniser)on the Westside's fledgling recall effort of 5th District LA City Councilman Jack Weiss. They're going to need the signatures of 15% of those who voted in the last Mayoral election to qualify for such an effort based on the current City Charter.

Most of us remember the most recent recall of Governor Davis that led to the election of our current governor (which again is a plug for name recognition meaning so much in an election). But most forget or are unaware that the City of Los Angeles has recalled its highest elected official, too. In 1938, the Citizens of Los Angeles recalled their mayor, Frank Shaw, for his corrupt ways. The people elected Judge Fletcher Bowron, who was the antithesis of the "grafty" Shaw. For 15 years, Bowron ran the city without flash and warmth - he diligently worked to get the job done, ushering the City into the modern era. He brought in the lauded Chief Parker (of Parker Center fame) to reform the LAPD and brought national attention as a leader that was a deliberate reformer for the first modern metropolis. (see this1949 TIME Magazine article for more.)

So, recalls happen in LA and can be good for the City. Also notable is that the citizenry has the ability to recall not only elected officials, but all of the "officers of the city." This includes:

"A Mayor, The Members of the Council, A City Attorney, A City Clerk, A Controller, A Treasurer, The members of the boards or commissions of the departments and the chief administrative officer of each department and office, An Executive Director of the Board of Police Commissioners, [and] Other officers as prescribed by ordinance"

So, those commissioners & department heads better look out if they make the voters upset! First Jack Weiss, then the Planning Commissioners? (The process for recalling appointed positions is a little more cumbersome as the threshold for signatures is at 20% instead of the standard 15% of those who voted in the last Mayoral election.)


Mike said...

Wow Nerd, that is a fantastic find (as always!) What a snapshot of Los Angeles circa 1949, as well as how the world saw it at the time.

Anonymous said...

as a ucla student, my fellow students and i would LOVE to see a subway come to Westwood area. It would NOT bring more traffic like people say, but only allow us to leave our cars at home, live further from campus, and cut down on car emissions. too bad the wealthy homeowners who hate rail or subways cuz it will bring in the hoipolloi to their areas, oppose us and jack's plans.

Anonymous said...

Always interesting, the Recall Jack Weiss effort only needs 15% which is probably a done deal. No doubt the publicity alone will drive any plans for other city office runs a pipe dream. Sounds like the citizens of this city are finally figuring out you have to step up to the plate to change things. They don't do it themselves. Love the song on their website.