Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quan Recall Backers Should Pull the Plug on Last Petition Drive

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Now that two of the three efforts to recall Oakland Mayor Jean Quan have failed, backers of the remaining one should abandon their foundering campaign as well. The recall campaigns have been a distraction, and have caused unnecessary divisiveness in the city. And they’ve been costly, especially for the supporters of the remaining campaign. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, the Committee to Recall Mayor Quan Now — has racked up $26,166 in debts, and has virtually no money to hire paid signature gatherers. In fact, the group has only raised about $17,000, far short of the money it needs.

Unless some deep-pocketed donor suddenly decides to pony up the $45,000 the campaign needs to pay its debts and hire signature-gatherers, the campaign has no chance of garnering the required 20,000 valid signatures. But that seems unlikely, because it would be a waste of money. A recent poll commissioned by Oakland political consultant, Larry Tramutola, who managed ex-state Senator Don Perata’s mayoral campaign against Quan in 2010, showed that only 34 percent of city voters said they would recall the mayor from office. "Even if they could get the recall on the ballot, the question is could they win the election, and I don't think that would happen at all," Tramutola told the Oakland Tribune.

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Moreover, Quan’s supporters have already proven that they would put up a formidable fight. In fact, they’ve already outraised the recall proponents by a margin of nearly 5-1. Reports show that the Committee Opposing the Recall of Mayor Jean Quan has raised $79,000, and it’s list of donors is more than five times as long as the Committee to Recall Mayor Quan Now.

In addition, the last recall committee standing appears to be in disarray, and doesn’t even know how many signatures it has collected so far. One member of the campaign told the Tribune that the group had just 7,000 signatures, while another told the Chronicle that it had 12,000 to 15,000. Frankly, we’d be surprised if the group had managed to collect 7,000. The group’s lack of funds has meant that it has been unable to hire the signature gatherers needed to fan out across the city. Charles Pine, leader of one of the other recall groups, admitted to the Chron that “the recall lost.”

Since last fall, disorganization has been the hallmark of the recall efforts. The campaign originally split into three groups because members couldn’t get along and accused each other of mismanagement. Eventually, the two efforts led by Pine and activist Gene Hazzard fizzled out, when they simply couldn’t spark the enthusiasm needed to succeed.

That left the last group — the Committee to Recall Mayor Quan Now. But it’s sputtering badly, and the only way to might succeed is if it gets a big infusion of cash. But that seems pretty unlikely because donors don’t usually like to throw away their money on an effort that even Perata’s campaign manager says is doomed.

As such, it’s time for the final recall group to throw in the towel. If they really want to replace Quan, they’ll get another chance just two years from now when the mayor faces reelection in 2014.

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