Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Pacific Grove Mayor Dan Cort has announced his surprise resignation, effective Aug. 31, in response to the threat of a recall.
In an email to Cort sent before 6pm August 3, P.G. activist David Dilworth informed the mayor he planned to begin gathering recall signatures at 11:45am Aug. 4—unless Cort promptly resigned.
"There is a group of cross-partisan citizens who have committed to work diligently and persistently to allow Pacific Grove voters to remove you from office," he wrote. "There is one small light remaining for you, assuming you may wish to save your reputation from the recall footnote that would be in your Wikipedia entry for the rest of your life."
By 11pm that night, Cort had sent out an email announcing his resignation.
"This was not an easy decision for me to make, but has become necessary to avoid the distraction of a recall campaign that will interfere the City’s ability to deal with important issues," Cort wrote in a press release (copied below).
Dilworth and Terrence Zito, P.G. residents and activists with Helping Our Peninsula's Environment, are moving forward with the recall anyway.
"A recall effort begins today to allow Pacific Grove voters to remove the Mayor Dan Cort, and three Councilmembers, Bill Kampe, Vicki Stillwell and Deborah Lindsay, for their votes to give raises to city employees while cutting back vital services for Pacific Grove citizens," stated a 10am press release from Dilworth.
"The final straw was when Mr. Cort and other Council members voted to cut back Library funds and to give away the City's beloved Museum with a one-sided contract," Zito stated. "This Recall is not in response to any single vote, but to a pattern
of mismanagement of city assets and finances. Police raises are just one part of the overall pattern of financial blunders."
Cort's press release and Dilworth's email are pasted below:
Mayor Cort Rejects Intimidation Tactics and Vows to Vote on Police Contract.
I am writing to notify you of my intent to resign as Mayor of Pacific Grove effective, August 31, 2009. This was not an easy decision for me to make, but has become necessary to avoid the distraction of a recall campaign that will interfere the City’s ability to deal with important issues.
At the end of my first term as Mayor, I contemplated whether to seek a second term. Ultimately, I decided that there were many things I believed I could help accomplish for the City and sought another term. After being re-elected, I have often been conflicted over my belief that continuing to serve as Mayor in the current negative environment was not in the best interest of my family or myself, and the obligation I felt to the voters who elected me.
Today, I received an email from David Dilworth (attached) threatening me with a recall petition if I did not resign by 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. Mr. Dilworth stated that if I resigned “for family or other reason,” that the media and general public would never need to know of the recall effort. I believe this is an attempt to intimidate me into resigning before I am able to vote on the Police Officer Association contract that is on Wednesday’s Council Agenda. I will be at that Council meeting and I will vote on that item.
I am informing the media and the public of this recall effort both because I am confident I could beat the recall effort, and to let the citizens of Pacific Grove know of this small band of citizens who are attempting to use bullying tactics and intimidation to get their way.
While I am confident that the voters of Pacific Grove would see through the lies and deception of this small minded group, I do not believe it is in the best interest of the City, and its citizens, to spend the next six to twelve months distracted by a recall effort. The issues facing Pacific Grove, and cities throughout the State, are too important right now to be pushed aside for the personal vendetta of a few disgruntled complainers.
I am proud of the accomplishments of this City Council and the previous Council that I was privileged to serve alongside, and it is unfortunate that we will not be able to finish our terms together. However, I believe it is in the best interest of the City, its citizens, and my family and me, that I resign as Mayor and allow the Council to focus their efforts on providing solutions to the many issues facing the City at this time.
I ask that all those who have supported me in the past, and those that have opposed me, come together for the good of Pacific Grove and support the new Mayor and Council as they do the best they can to provide the most efficient and effective municipal services to Pacific Grove.
I have been honored to serve as both a Council Member and your Mayor, and wish you all the best in the future.
Mayor of Pacific Grove
From: David [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 5:53 PM
Subject: Bad News: Resign or Recall
Sorry to bring you bad news.
Tomorrow morning at 11:45 we will begin publicly gathering signatures to recall you from office.
I have attached a copy of the Recall Notice petition.
There is a group of cross-partisan citizens who have committed to work diligently and persistently to allow Pacific Grove voters to remove you from office.
There is one small light remaining for you, assuming you may wish to save your reputation from the Recall footnote that would be in your Wikipedia entry for the rest of your life.
Do not construe this as a negotiation, nor is it up for discussion.
I am authorized to let you know that if you publicly elect to resign "for family" or any other reason before we begin gathering signatures at 11:45 - the people who have already signed have agreed that the media and the general public never need know about you facing a recall effort.
I am authorized to let you know, because I am the only one left who wishes to give you the chance to save face.
with all due respect and haste,