D.R.: Right way to recall | VailDaily.com

D.R.: Right way to recall

Don Rogers

Predictably, the Arn Menconi recall “organizers” have blown their deadline to avoid sticking the taxpayers with the expense of a special election.

Quote marks surround the word above because it’s hard to find much organized about this effort. With the evil child helper about to enter his last of eight years in office before he’s termed out, they couldn’t figure out how to start their drive early enough to have a prayer of getting on the November ballot? It almost takes a concerted effort to be that late.

They couldn’t fit more than five of their 20 reasons to recall the commissioner into the petition. They reported a whopping $200 in donations at their first deadline for reporting this. Most of their stated “reasons” frankly are bizarre. Reason No. 1 hails all the way back to 2000 over what in reality was a non-issue at the time, never mind nearly eight years later. Even the people they are supposedly so, so concerned about ” the group devoted to helping battered women ” support Menconi rather than the recall organizers, who have never been seen helping in any way at the women’s center. It’s a funny irony, actually.

Of course, all this is someone else’s fault. Add failure to be accountable for your own actions to the rest of transgressions.

Still, they have until Sept. 17 to get 4,367 Eagle County voters to agree that it would be a wise use of $37,000 to hold a special election on whether to deny the commissioner his last year in office.

Another irony is that these are the same folks who wailed bitterly about spending $25,000-$30,000 on a special election over a home rule charter, which actually made sense. Menconi, irony of ironies, opposed the passage of the charter. The other two commissioners, and we, supported it.

If you are going to be serious about a recall in line with the regular November election, here’s some advice:

– Start good and early. Do some basic math. Let’s see, a couple of months to collect signatures. Better count on another two months for verifying the signatures and any protests that come along. Figure the latest date to get all this done and work backward. It’s all predictable. It’s basic subtraction. Use a calculator if need be. Starting two, three weeks before such a deadline, well, that’s not exactly a hallmark of competence.

– Raise some funds and recruit supporters at least a couple of months before you start your petition drive. If you have trouble, well, that might be a clue. Pay attention to such signs.

– Know your word limit before trying to turn in your petition language. Take enough time to carefully edit your reasoning. Otherwise you wind up throwing out three-fourths of your words out, and what you have left may not be your best effort.

– Stick to the unadorned truth. If you have to juice it up, twist it around, and pretty much make it up to sound like something else, it might not stand up as much of a reason. It’s relatively easy to get people to sign a petition, but when they really start thinking, you’ll be sorry. Ask the anti-Crossroads advocates about that. They got their referendum on the ballot, and then were clobbered in the election.

And some don’ts:

– Don’t crow ahead of time about how you’d never be like the county commissioners and waste money on a special election ” and then aim to do precisely that. People might get the idea you’re being a hypocrite.

– Don’t fail to do your homework and then blame government for your own failings.

– Don’t accuse people of “not caring” about people they’ve actually helped when you haven’t done a thing to help them yourself.

– Don’t act like a baby when people poke obvious holes in your scheme. Be the grownup. It’s a test of whether you can take the high ground or go below the belt. How you proceed is a major statement about your overall effort. So far, you’ve flunked, frankly.

Still lots of time to turn it around. You might start by just being honest. You don’t like the commissioner and want him out of office. He votes to spend too much on at-risk children; you don’t like his personality; you think he looks for advantages for his child-helping group, the Snowboard Outreach Society ” fine.

Just say so.

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