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FULLERTON : For DeWitte, Council Term Short but Sweet

November 12, 1994|MIMI KO

Conrad DeWitte will get to vote to repeal the city's controversial utility tax next week and then he will be history.

DeWitte's defeat in Tuesday's council election etched his name in city annals as the council member with the shortest term. Although he failed to get reelected, DeWitte said he is satisfied that he will get to cast a vote next week on the 2% tax he promised to repeal.

DeWitte was the only candidate endorsed by the Fullerton Recalls Committee to win a council seat in last month's special election, which was called to replace the three council members who last year voted to levy the tax.

Ironically, one of the three recalled officials, Don Bankhead, was elected just weeks after stepping down from office. DeWitte will give up his seat in December and Bankhead will replace him.

Meanwhile, DeWitte, 46, said he will have done his part to help realize the recall committee's main goal: repealing the tax.

"Hundreds of citizens' thoughts and intelligence were just thrown aside when the council voted for that tax," he said. "We just couldn't sit still, so we had to take action and we succeeded in identifying the issue, crystallizing for the voters that the tax was wrong, and changed the way the city does its business."

He added that department managers are following his suggestion to list all the services they provide and prioritize them so that the council can see where money can be saved.

"I think my short presence on the City Council helped a lot," DeWitte said. "I don't think anybody is going to come back and say, 'Gee, there's just no way to cut costs without keeping the tax.' That's baloney, and everybody knows it."

Should the tax, which is scheduled to expire in September, 1995, be repealed, it would expire in February. The majority of the council is expected to vote to repeal it.

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