Posted 11:51pm January 28
by Nell McGarity
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
An effort to recall Mayor Anthony Williams was launched January 20, citing that Williams should not serve out the remainder of his term because he has ignored the concerns of his constituents in regards to healthcare, education, homelessness, public safety, and democracy.
Save our City, the group seeking the recall, cites the closure of D.C. General and the inadequate healthcare options now available to those community members the hospital once served, the new school voucher program, the growing number of homelessness in the city, the mayor’s pursuit of a professional baseball team and convention center hotel, increased violence and inadequate police resources, the newly created hybrid school board of appointed and elected members, and failure to reach the campaign promise of D.C. statehood as some of the key factors in why the mayor’s term should be cut short.
Williams has taken the effort seriously and has spoken out against it.
“I am disappointed to learn of this effort,” he said in a statement. “We need to find ways to bring people together and direct their energies in a more positive direction.”
While these issues affect many D.C. residents, they vary greatly from the fiscal problems that began the successful recall against former California Governor Gray Davis. The District’s budget has been balanced for seven consecutive years.
“Some people are still angry about D.C. General, they may oppose our decision to pursue the relocation of a Major League Baseball team, or they may disagree with my school choice initiative. But disagreements over policy do not comprise a legitimate basis for removing an elected official from office,” said Williams.
Save our City filed their intent to recall the mayor with the D.C. Board of Elections on January 20. The mayor then has 10 days to respond if he chooses to do so.
On Feb. 2, there will be a public meeting regarding the recall held by the Board of Elections. At that point, the board will determine if the recall will move forward. If they decide that it will, Save our City will then have 180 days to get more than 38,000 signature representing 10 percent of registered D.C. voters from all over the city.
If they are able to achieve this, then the recall will be placed on a ballot in November. Even if there are enough votes in favor of the recall, Williams will still be able to run again for mayor in the nonpartisan election, unlike California’s recall process.
“We need to look for ways to unite our city — not divide it. I am going to fight this recall but I am not going to let it deter me from the important work that I have before me,” Williams said.