A long-threatened campaign to unseat two slow-growth Galt City Council members is now underway.
Members of Protect Galt's Future, a political action committee formed to push a pro-growth agenda, said Tuesday they plan to file a notice of intent to recall Mayor Andrew Meredith and Councilman Don Haines.
"They have not provided good stewardship … they have stymied any real development," said Jim Ferguson, a retired Galt resident and PGF member.
"We've been (speaking) in front of the City Council for about a year, talking about Delta Greens and other projects, (and) it's become very, very obvious that they're simply not listening to us," added Dick Smith, another PGF member.
Delta Greens is a senior living center proposed off Twin Cities Road west of Galt. An earlier version of the project, backed by the Del Webb company, was nixed from city growth plans in January 2007 by a majority of the current council, including Meredith and Haines.
Advocates continue to argue the senior project would generate millions in revenue and hundreds of jobs for Galt.
Haines and Meredith had been elected the previous fall on campaign promises to scale back Galt's growth plans.
Reached for comment, the two city leaders said they've followed the community's vision for responsible growth.
"I don't think the public is going to let them steal these seats from us," Haines noted. "This isn't going to go far."
Meredith said he wasn't surprised to hear of the recall effort. He noted he has heard threats of a recall from members of the group since he was elected in November 2006.
The earliest a recall vote could be held is during a March 2009 special election, City Clerk Liz Aguire said. Several requirements - including the collection of roughly 1,800 signatures from registered Galt voters - must be met before a recall vote can be set in motion.
Steps to force a recall voteA notice of intent to recall must be filed with the city clerk. Twenty signatures of registered Galt voters must be included, and the notice must have been served in person or by certified mail to the subjects of the recall.
The notice must then be published in a local newspaper.
A recall petition must be drafted and then approved by the city clerk. It can then be circulated by organizers, who have 90 days to collect signatures from 20 percent of Galt's registered voters.
Those signatures must then be verified and an election scheduled.
Source: Galt City Clerk Liz Aguire
It would cost approximately $70,000 to hold such an election, Aguire said.
Smith called that price "a drop in the bucket" compared to what the current council has spent on recent consultant fees.
He cited the $160,000 the council paid the Lew Edwards Group of Oakland to survey and educate the public about a sales tax measure as wasted spending.
That measure, which aims to raise money to hire more police officers, will be on the November ballot.
Should the effort to recall Haines and Meredith move forward, nominations for new City Council members would be accepted by the city.
Names of qualifying candidates would then be placed on the special election ballot for a public vote.
Aguire said in her 20 years working for the city she could not remember a successful recall effort.
The threat of a recall is significant because any shift of council seats could dramatically alter the city's future growth policy.
Meredith, Haines and Galt City Councilman Tim Raboy comprise the council's slow-growth majority. Council members Darryl Clare and Barbara Payne have advocated for larger-scale growth.
Raboy has not indicated whether he'll seek re-election. Payne, on the other hand, recently pulled papers to run for re-election.
Protect Galt's Future has endorsed Payne and Galt businessman Rodney Stanhope for council, Smith said.
Randy Shelton, a former Galt city councilman who was narrowly defeated in his 2006 re-election bid, is also vying for a seat, along with Fred Goethel and Richard Salton.
Smith said Protect Galt's Future is comprised of "10 or 12 very active people." It formed first as citizens group in 2007 and later was registered earlier this year as a political action committee. Smith said members range from retirees to working citizens, all very concerned about Galt's economic future.
He added that the group has raised roughly $600, all in small donations. Because the group is registered as a Sacramento County PAC, and not a Galt PAC, it does not have to identify where donations of $99 and below are from.
Smith declined to disclosure the group's donation list.
He also denied a claim by Meredith and Haines that the group has financial ties to the Delta Greens project.
"None of us are tied into the developer," Smith said. "We have no financial interest whatsoever in that."