No On Recall
Political hit on Calcagno was all talk, ag boss says.
Thursday, February 5, 2004
Recall mania hit Monterey County late last month, when some South County farmers started to talk about ousting Supervisor Lou Calcagno.
However, Calcagno says this effort by some agriculture industry leaders to recall him is going nowhere.
“I think they’ve dropped the idea,” Calcagno says. “I met with Kurt Gollnick. He says it’s a dead issue.”
Gollnick, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Scheid Vineyards, confirmed that there had been some talk of tossing the North County supervisor. But he said it “never had any legs at all.”
“Not one chance in a million. It was a tongue-in-cheek remark that took on a life of its own. This thing was dead before it became a viable idea. I killed it in discussion.”
According to Gollnick, the recall flap happened during a recent meeting of 21st Century Solutions, a group of business owners, developers, attorneys and growers—many of whom urged the supes to throw out the General Plan during the Board’s last round of public hearings.
“It was a discussion on strategies to influence the direction of the General Plan,” Gollnick says. “This was a discussion of what we felt was a General Plan that was moving ahead too quickly. Someone made a tongue-in-cheek remark that the most effective way to change the outcome of the General Plan was to recall Lou Calcagno. It was nothing but a couple of South County farmers beating their chests. Nothing’s going to come of this.”
Gollnick refused to name whoever it was at the meeting that suggested recalling Calcagno.
“Lou, frankly, by and large, has been a great supporter of agriculture and, we have found, a pretty even-handed supporter of the environmental community as well,” Gollnick says.
In fact, Calcagno, a dairy farmer himself, created the “agricultural viability” working group—made up of Gollnick and other farmers, ranchers and growers—which met with Calcagno and Supervisor Butch Lindley, and were largely responsible for the agricultural viability policies that were added to a revised draft of the document. These included permit exemptions for routine ag activities, an agricultural planning commission, and right-to-farm language.
Additionally, last June Calcagno made a motion to create the Refinement Group—a special committee representing about 25 different interests to make recommendations to the General Plan. This move angered some environmentalists, who viewed it as yet another attempt by land-use lawyers and would-be developers to hijack the plan.
According to sources close to 21st Century Solutions, some members have begun to worry that Calcagno will not endorse the group’s proposed pro-development changes to the growth document.
“They’ve got their ideas [about the General Plan] and their thinking, and I understand they’re upset,” Calcagno said. “Whatever it was, we’re talking about a General Plan that means a lot to everyone. As a supervisor I understand I can’t please everyone.”