Trouble in Paradise
Slowly but surely, an effort is brewing to recall Supervisor Yamaguchi
It looks like Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi, the cocksure supervisor from Paradise, is facing a bit of an insurrection.
Magalia resident John Cecil acknowledged Monday that he plans to file paperwork at the County Clerk’s Office next week, kick-starting a recall of the freshman supervisor from Paradise. Until he filed the papers and gathered the necessary 20 signatures needed to start the process, Cecil said, he wanted to play his cards close to his chest. However, he said that there are several “very involved, very motivated” people on the Ridge who are ready to whip up support for the effort.
“We’ll have an official announcement next week,” Cecil said. “That’s all I’d like to say right now.”
That’s all he really had to say to confirm weeks of rumors of a recall effort of Yamaguchi. Since Superior Court Judge Roger Gilbert ruled against his redistricting Plan 5 on Dec. 6, rumors have abounded of his imminent recall.
The plan infuriated thousands of Butte County voters last summer and fall, when Yamaguchi (along with Supervisors Bob Beeler and Curt Josiassen) pushed a lawsuit over the plan against County Clerk Candace Grubbs all the way to court, against the advice of the county’s lawyer—and against the will of almost 12,000 voters who signed petitions for a referendum of the plan.
The Plan 5 effort failed in court last month, and voters will have a chance to vote on the plan March 5, but the attempt will cost county taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills. The cost is still being added up.
While it’s clear that there will be a recall effort of Yamaguchi this month, what’s not clear is exactly who’s leading it. Paradise Irrigation District Director Rick Hall, who ran against Yamaguchi but lost in the primaries, said he’s been hearing about the effort “through the grapevine” but denied that he’s spearheading it.
“It puts me in a awkward position,” he said. “I don’t want it to look like sour grapes or something … but I hear things.”
Cecil said that he’s already been talking to a replacement for Yamaguchi (the process requires that voters choose whether to recall a sitting politician and install a replacement at the same time), but he wouldn’t say who it is.
“These are things that will come out in time,” he said.
Grubbs confirmed that her office had handed out five or six recall packets since early December. The recall process is relatively simple: Those spearheading it have to file an intent to circulate petitions, give official notice of the to the politician being recalled, gather 20 signatures to place the recall on the ballot, and have a replacement ready to take office if it’s successful.
This recall effort is a bit of a slap in the face to Yamaguchi. He’s managed to infuriate many of the leaders in his own party over his redistricting coup—mostly for making the Republican Party look bad.
And he’s been in office only since November 2000.