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150 sign Lakeside recall petition

Lakeside petitioners Mildred Dover-Bennett and Stacy Dunn leave the Lakeside City Hall after turning in more than 150 signatures to recall councilor Sue Allen.

LAKESIDE -- With the support of 150 people, an election to recall Councilor Sue Allen could take place in May.

Resident Mildred Dover-Bennett handed in a recall petition Monday, the culmination of a three-month campaign to oust the official.

Dover-Bennett, known commonly by the name Midge Viedo, wants to recall Allen because she believes the councilor has repeatedly blocked the appointment of two candidates to a vacant council seat.

A recall election of Allen is not set in stone yet; election officials will spend the next three days determining how many of Viedo's 150 signatures are valid.

If Viedo's petition has at least 127 valid signatures, election forms will be sent to Lakeside voters within 44 days from today.

In a phone interview after the petition's submission, Allen said she was disappointed that people had supported Viedo's campaign.

'I think it's really sad and pathetic there are people who are so easily swayed by the kind of garbage being spewed by a certain element in this city," Allen said.

She reiterated that there was nothing illegal or unconstitutional about not voting for two candidates -- residents Stacy Dunn and Dean Warner -- who she didn't feel were suitable to fill the council's vacant council seat.

Two other councilors, Mack Eubanks and Elaine Armstrong, also voted against both candidates. The three 'no" votes have left Lakeside's council in a stalemate for months. The council seat remains open. One of the candidates, Dunn, has since dropped out.

Viedo is opposed to all three ''no' vote councilors," who she believes are putting personal grudges over democratic process. She targeted Allen in her recall because Allen had the most time left on her term as councilor. Additionally, because of a recent failed recall campaigns against Armstrong and Eubanks, Viedo, not the city, would have to bear the $3,500 price tag of a recall election against those two, not the city.

Viedo said she was ecstatic with the response to her campaign but, at the same time, didn't relish embroiling Lakeside in another recall election.

Lakeside has a reputation for recall campaigns, spurring elections in 2006 and 2009. Viedo said said this was a unique circumstance.

'I think it's our duty and responsibility to fight that injustice, and that's what's happening here," Viedo said.

Over the weekend, a separate group of citizens aborted a rival campaign to recall three other councilors.

The group, led by chief petitioner Darline Atkin, have been collecting signatures to oust Mayor Ed Gowan and Councilors Ed Langley and Naomi Parker. The group has a variety of reasons against each councilor, ranging from 'nitpicking" at council meetings to an incident where the mayor brought a gun to a council meeting in a suitcase.

Sheli Roe, one of Atkin's petitioners, said the group had over 127 signatures against each of the councilors.

Roe said their original plan was to submit their recall only if Viedo submitted hers because they didn't want to be blamed for spurring a recall election that would cost the city $3,500. However, they felt it was alright to piggyback on it if Viedo collected enough signatures.

On the weekend, Roe said, her group came to the conclusion that Viedo's petition was unlikely to progress because too many of her signatures would be considered invalid by election officials.

Her group feared that they would inadvertently spur a recall campaign rather than piggybacking on it.

'We are not willing to gamble the city of Lakeside's money in that way," Roe said.

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