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The right time to say no.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Shamelessly stealing Steve Martin's joke, we'd like to thank every Lane County voter who had the decency and good sense not to sign the We Said No committee's vindictive recall petitions. So, thank you, and you, and you over there, and ...

OK, enough. The We Said No Way voters kicked the tar out of the vigilantes over at We Said No, and frankly, they deserved it.

Ben Pooler, a We Said No committee member, said the group had dropped its efforts to recall Lane County Commissioner Bobby Green. Pooler offered a seemingly conciliatory assessment to Register-Guard reporter Matt Cooper.

"We don't want to take people's jobs from them," Pooler said. "The county commissioners made a very tough decision - they did what they thought was right. The problem is, most of us didn't want that to happen."

Hello? Where was this Ben Pooler back in April when the vengeful idea to recall a 12-year commissioner for "doing what he thought was right" suddenly became good enough to put into action?

Did Pooler really have a change of heart on Thursday? Or was it the fact that his committee's misuse of the recall process couldn't even muster 2,000 signatures after three months of scrounging, well short of the 4,274 signatures necessary to force a recall vote?

It's perfectly legitimate to express outrage with the decisions of elected officials, and voters smacked three Lane County commissioners upside the head with a 71 percent rejection of a proposed county income tax in the May 15 election.

If Commissioners Green, Bill Dwyer and Faye Stewart are foolish enough to ignore that message, Lane County voters can `recall' every one of them - when they're up for re-election.

But threatening to recall elected officials who are agonizing over how to prevent budget cuts that could cost 250 county employees their jobs is the wrong way to inspire political courage and leadership.

Every Lane County resident who said no when they were asked to sign a We Said No recall petition understood that recall efforts are for the really bad stuff - corruption and abuse of power - not for punishing public officials who "made a very tough decision (and) did what they thought was right."
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Title Annotation:Editorials; Voters wisely reject a mean-spirited recall effort
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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