Recall drive is wrongheaded

The fledgling recall drive against Richmond district Supervisor Jake McGoldrick is divisive, a distraction from real city problems and a thoroughly bad precedent.

This unwarranted attempt to sink McGoldrick is, in fact, the worst San Francisco recall idea since then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein handily defeated a fanatical pro-gun campaign to punish her for the 1983 handgun ban ordinance.

You don’t have to be a front-row cheerleader for McGoldrick, who can best be described as an independent-leaning progressive representing a comparatively moderate-conservative district, to oppose this vengeful recall. And in fact, the bar should be set very high for any recalls, for that matter.

Recalling an elected official from office should be considered an extremely serious step, best reserved for unusual abuses such as corruption, malfeasance and the like. At very least, there must be a convincing case made that the actions of the politician targeted for recall are so disastrous that continuation would only do major, lasting public harm — which is what the electorate decided during the 2003 recall of governor Gray Davis.

The bottom line is that recall efforts were never intended as overkill weapons against elected officials whose policies the recall instigator happens to disagree with. There are better and more fitting ways to get rid of officeholders you dislike. They are called elections.

These elections actually occur quite regularly. McGoldrick must run again in about 12 months, which ought to be soon enough for even his worst enemies.

This newspaper often disagrees adamantly with Board of Supervisors votes it considers overly negative toward good-job-generating businesses. But that does not mean you will find us sponsoring tear-out recall petition sheets here anytime soon. We stick to reporting the facts in our stories, making our opinions known here on this page and endorsing preferred candidates at election time.

Citizens for Recall of Jake McGoldrick is the group now seeking the District 1 supervisor’s early ouster. The organization criticizes him on a laundry list of issues, especially focusing on his support of two public transit, car-limiting issues — the trial Saturday closure of a Golden Gate Park roadway and the controversial Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project.

By happenstance, a prime mover of the Citizens for Recall is David Heller, president of the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants and Property Owners Association, which is fighting tooth and nail against the Geary bus express due to the likelihood of losing customer parking or a car lane.

Under the city charter, it is absolutely the right of Heller and his allies to attempt a recall petition, and we support that right. However, it is also our right to urge you not to sign this particularly bad-news petition.


We welcome your comments:
Should Jake McGoldrick be recalled?

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