Armenta Recall Effort Hits the Streets
June 22, 2011
Even as one of the leaders in the effort to recall County Supervisor Fernando Armenta from the position he has held for ten years faces four felony charges related to recall proceedings, community members began to canvass the streets of East Salinas on Wednesday in search of support for the recall.
About 25 people gathered on the lawn in front of Salinas City Hall Tuesday to kick off the recall. The group needs to supply the County Elections Department with 3,741 signatures of eligible voters by October to get a recall on the ballot.
"We count on your support," Elizabeth Miller, a resident of East Salinas, told supporters in Spanish. "Hopefully we can walk together through the streets of district 1." Though turnout yesterday was just a quarter of what organizers had been hoping for, Miller is optimistic that after a successful recall in 2009 of Jesus Velazquez, a former Alisal Union School District board member. Miller has two children who are students in the school district, and she supports the recall because of Armenta's prior support for state intervention.
That Jose Castañeda, the Alisal Union board president and prospective candidate for the district 1 seat, faces charges of perjury on the first round of recall paperwork didn't mean morale was down, and in fact bolstered support. "This pretty much just verifies and provides more more evidence of selective prosecution," says Jose Ibarra, a district teacher.
The smaller-than-anticipated turnout didn't bother Jose Luis Garcia, who says, "They think we are a small group, but they are wrong. They are a small group of people with influence."
The Monterey County Democratic Party announced endorsements for the Supes races about six months ahead of schedule to weigh in in support of Armenta. Garcia and other organizers say the county dems, along with Armenta, are part of a network of power brokers who don't have community interests at heart.
Supporters yesterday waved United Farm Workers flags, though unions also support Armenta. "Unions came out in support of Mr. Armenta, but they forgot to consult the rank and file," says Ibarra. "Just like the democrats. It shows you the lack of democratic values."