Recall Exposes Big Money Influence in San Juan
By Christie Smead
Those who have done it will probably agree that gathering signatures for a ballot measure is a lot of work, but is also a great way to conduct an informal survey of your community. So what have we learned about our community while gathering thousands of signatures for the recall of Mayor Sam Allevato?
We learned that about 8 out of 10 residents do not believe that Sam Allevato represents their interests.
We learned that the majority of residents believe that their water rates are too high, the traffic has become too gridlocked from over-development and that our city council majority should stop wasting our money on unnecessary lawsuits, including unconstitutional actions such as banning newspapers on City property, which they have yet to justify.
We learned that the many residents who signed the recall petition are united in their desire to stand together; not for Sam, but for San Juan.
We also learned that there is apparently no limit to the amount of money that outside, wealthy and financially invested special interests are willing to pour into Allevato’s campaign to keep him seated on City Council.
Allevato reported more than $70,000 collected in just 90 days from developers, unions, attorneys, lobbyists and city consultants/contractors who rely on his vote to benefit their financial interests. This amount doesn’t include the money spent by San Juan Cares, a group run by former and current city commissioners appointed and/or approved by Allevato. San Juan Cares spent well over $50,000 on attack mailers vilifying two sitting councilmen and residents who disagreed with Allevato, Kramer, and Taylor. It is incomprehensible to me, and the residents in San Juan, that Robert Ferguson who ran San Juan Cares, is allowed to continue serving on a city commission (as Chairman of the Open Space, Trails and Equestrian Commission) when he violated the city’s ethics policies by attacking sitting council members Byrnes and Reeve, not to mention residents.