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Recall Rally Draws Hughson Supporters
A Sept. 1 rally for the recall of Riverbank City Councilmember Jesse James White acknowledged recalls are generally difficult to achieve but noted a couple had recently succeeded in Stanislaus County, i.e. Hughson and Livingston, and that led by Riverbank Citizens For Fair Change, is on track for a third.

"We still have a couple of hundred signatures to get and four weeks left," said the group's leader Dotty Nygard. "We need to gather 2,185 or 25 percent of the 8,700 registered voters to qualify. And Sept. 29 is the deadline."

Gathering at Ray Safreno Park on Wednesday, the group drew support from Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno, political consultant Joshua Whitfield who helped organize the Hughson recall and George Carr, who was elected to the Hughson Council in that movement along with Jeremy Young and Jill Silva.

Numbering about 20 people at any one time, the event drew a number of residents to sign the recall petition into the evening.

"Recall movements should be a last resort and difficult to achieve," said Whitfield, who assisted Hughson Citizens for Ethical Government to remove three councilmembers. "It should be the last resort of the voters to hold their elected officials accountable. Hughson felt its officials had acted outside the limits of the law. There is no doubt in my mind that White has gone beyond the boundaries also and abused the power entrusted to him by the voters.

"But it is up to the recall group to convince the rest of the voters of this," he added. "It won't happen by itself. You have to go door to door. You have to do the legwork. And when the petition is qualified, you have to start over again. You're asking the voters to fund the recall and you owe it to them to put in 110 percent."

Hughson councilmember Carr noted the recall there won by a landslide with 63 percent voting for him, 71 percent for Young and 87 for Silva.

In his turn at the microphone, Carr said the Hughson movement was a grass roots effort and took a lot of work, weekly meetings and "a determination to see the thing through.

"We collected 1,000 signatures per candidate within 72 hours and camped out on the city clerk's doorstep to file the papers," he added. "You need citizen support, you've got to knock on doors, bring it up in conversation at the supermarket."

Placards stuck in the grass at the gathering noted White recently voted down a $125,000 planning grant for the city; in 2009 the county civil grand jury found he was not a registered voter at the time he pulled candidate's papers (a violation of city regulations; at election time he was on probation for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana; and by failing to attend special council meetings had now forced the city to pay $25,000 upwards for a special election to fill Councilmember Danny Fielder's position.

More cards criticized White's attendance record and absence from council meetings on Aug. 2, 9, 16 and 23.