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Councilman Blames Health for Absences

April 10, 1998|JOHN CANALIS

Councilman James D. Petrikin responded this week to a recall petition against him, saying medical problems--not negligence--forced him to miss about a dozen meetings since his 1997 reelection.

In the official response released this week by the city clerk's office, Petrikin disputed allegations that he is inaccessible and fails to return phone calls.

"I have not abandoned my duties as councilman," he said. "In the last seven months my surgeries have prevented me from being more involved in the city as I would like."

Petrikin, 58, who is serving his third council term, noted he never missed more than two consecutive City Council meetings during his recovery from hip and back surgeries.

The recall movement began last month, not long after he was convicted of misdemeanor drunk driving in Northern California.

Critics said Petrikin's response failed to change their minds about pursuing a recall election.

"If this recall does nothing more than forcing him into doing his duties then we've accomplished something," said Julie Hoxsie, a recall campaign member and Fountain Valley School District trustee.

Hoxsie said campaigners plan to deliver the recall petition to City Hall today for a ruling on whether its wording is proper. Once the petition is approved, the committee has 120 days to gather 6,000 signatures from registered voters to put the issue on the November ballot.

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