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STANTON : Joe Harris Resigns From City Council

September 24, 1993|WILLSON CUMMER

Joe V. Harris resigned Thursday from the City Council, saying he wants to spend more time with his widowed father, who lives in Northern California.

Harris was elected to the City Council in 1990, and his term was to end in November, 1994. His resignation takes effect immediately.

"Due to the recent death of my mother and the heartache experienced by my father after 58 years of marriage, I will be devoting myself to spending more time with my father in his twilight years," Harris said in his handwritten resignation letter.

"I'm not real happy, because I had to make a choice," Harris said in a telephone interview. "I can't split myself up anymore."

Six times since his mother died in April, Harris said, he has made the 13-hour drive to visit his father in McKinleyville, a small town north of Eureka.

Harris, 57, is the target of a recall campaign for his support of Measure A, a card club initiative that city voters rejected in June. Harris had argued that card clubs could have put millions of dollars yearly into shrunken city coffers.

"The recall has nothing to do with my resignation whatsoever," Harris said.

The council must schedule a special election or appoint a new council member within 30 days. Councilman Sal Sapien said he favors appointing someone, since Harris' replacement will only serve for a year.

Members of the council and city staff lauded Harris' honesty and hard work and said they will miss him.

"He's one of the most honest and straightforward persons that I know," said Sapien, who appointed Harris to the Planning Commission in 1988 and supported his campaign for council. "I was just totally taken by surprise."

Councilman Harry M. Dotson, who strongly opposed Harris during the card club campaign, said Harris was a responsive councilman. "People would call him and say, 'Joe, my traffic light's out,' and he would take care of it," Dotson said.

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