Saturday, February 18, 2006

Union Mayor, Councillor Husband Recalled

The coup has been reversed in the city of Union! By a vote of 582 to 239--a walloping 71%--Mayor Deborah Clark has been removed from office just one year after spearheading a self-led movement to literally take over the City's governance. Voters went somewhat easier on her husband, Councillor Roger Clark, who was recalled with only 69% of the vote, which had a turnout over 65% in this town of around 2,000 in Northeast Oregon.

According to the O's splash on Wednesday, the Clarks were a team noted for allegations of nefarious dealing:
Many residents accused Deborah Clark of holding unofficial meetings, disguising agendas and acting against the town's interest in the sale of a piece of property. She was elected without an absolute majority in a tough three-way race 13 months ago.

The Clarks own and operate a gas station and grocery store in this Eastern Oregon town of about 2,000.
Those are the kinds of facts the AP reporter would get on their swing through town. The press that knows Union best is probably the nearby LaGrande Observer, which mentions nothing of the charges against the Clarks--although it hints at details of the "tough three way race" that The O describes, and leads me to call their ascenscion a coup:
Looking forward to finding an acting mayor and filling a council position, [former council member Barbara] James said she hopes the remaining five council members will be "very careful" about who they appoint. There is, she said, a number of people who would serve the city well without being either strong supporters of TOTAL — the Take Back Our Town and Leadership group that was formed and led by Deborah Clark — or those opposed to TOTAL.
Debbie Clark--she puts the TOTAL back in TOTALITARIAN! I'm dying to know who or what she was claiming to be taking the town back from, but apparently they've now taken it back, back. And the locals are smirking. AP would never get this priceless quote:
James, a former city council member and a strong opponent of the Clarks' style of government, said she had a strange moment Tuesday afternoon.

"I was sitting here (at her Union home) and a great peace came over me," she said. The peace was so great, she said, she dozed off.

With the recall apparently successful, James said her hope is that the community can find a way to move ahead and work toward the unity that helped win Union the Governor's Cup in the late 1990s for community progress and development.

Governor's Cup, eh? They take their civic pride seriously in Union. They sure do have detailed council meetings, and this one on Valentine's Night--the night of the election--must have been a doozy if you were in the gallery. Did the Clarks see the writing on the wall? How about this little bit of foreshadowing? "It was noted that in the February 3, 2005 minutes, the mayor was written as Dave Thomas instead of Deborah Clark. This correction was noted by Lowery. " As possibly her last official act, she went out with a bang, spreading the jing to those touched by her:
Clark moved to retain Joe Wrabek as our City Administrator as of February. 14, 2005; Gordon seconded. Passed unanimously with Clark, Gordon, Snodgrass,VanDiver and Walker voting aye. Clark said that it should be looked into at giving Wrabek a raise. Wrabek said he would look at the budget to see if an increase would be available.

I bet he will.