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Debating the Effort to Recall Frogue

December 13, 1998

* In the wake of the disappointing recall effort, embattled South Orange County Community College District Trustee Steven J. Frogue is declaring victory, claiming voters have vindicated him and repudiated the recall effort.

However, as you reported Nov. 29, while the recall effort failed to garner enough signatures to force an election, the effort itself was a serious endeavor, going much further than others in recent county history.

The real tragedy is that while our community took the time to learn and organize, Frogue and his supporter, college board President John Williams, continue to be oblivious about the origins of the community's outrage.

The real tragedy is that Frogue still champions the work of the Spotlight, a weekly noted by the Anti-Defamation League as the nation's "most anti-Semitic" newspaper.

The real tragedy is that Williams is relieved not to have to "look over [his] shoulder any longer." Perhaps Williams needs to take a good, long look, not over his shoulder but to Steven Frogue's seat beside his.

JULIE WILLARD

Professor

Irvine Valley College

* The Nov. 29 article sinks like Titanic under its own weight of bombast, bias and outright falsehoods. You repeat the same unfounded accusations by the same people using The Times for a year to further their political agenda.

A quoted but unnamed person prominently starts off the article with an outrageous racial statement purposely included to make readers assume that he expresses Frogue's views.

Shame on The Times.

You would have us take pity on the poor recall activists. Yes, the election law is tough: Despite spending over $100,000, under 10% of registered voters signed recall petitions. Clearly, the voters saw through the ruse and refused to compromise the democratic process of election.

Although The Times is a liberal newspaper, it chose to ignore the questions of freedom of speech for Frogue, and of academic freedom in regard to the proposed assassination course that would have included [someone] who criticizes the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, [for allegedly masterminding the assassination of John F. Kennedy].

The Times equates the criticism to anti-Semitism, which is, of course, illogical and erroneous.

When will The Times and the small group of self-promoting hate-mongers stop their smear campaign and let Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College have some peace and quiet?

TONY GARCIA

Professor

Saddleback College

* Thank you for clearing up the reason the recall effort failed.

As one who promoted the recall, I did not realize the difficulties of such a process. The comment from election supervisor Suzanne Slupsky is especially enlightening: The Frogue recall campaign was the first since 1991 to actually file signatures. None of the other 35 even got that far.

Regardless of the recall attempt failure, Frogue has been clearly revealed for what he really is and what he really stands for.

The Nov. 29 report discusses how "conservative Orange County" is more susceptible to the bigotry associated with Frogue. I respectfully resent this implication. Conservatism is not to be equated with racial hatred and bigotry. There is plenty of that from the self-styled "liberal" and "conservative" camps. Neither has a monopoly.

What the article calls "one of the most remarkable political coalitions in Orange County history" includes a large number of people who are identified as truly born-again Christians.

All fair-minded people of good will are against hatred of anybody merely based on racial, religious or ethnic reasons. This certainly includes the vast majority of Orange County residents who identify themselves as conservatives.

Believe me, we look forward to Frogue not being reelected in 2000.

IRVING E. FRIEDMAN

Laguna Niguel

* I see by the Nov. 22 letters that Michael Schroeder, chair of the California Republican Party, has had some harsh words said about him by some of his fellow Republicans and a Democrat or two concerning the performance of the state Republicans in the recent elections. I write to say some kind words about him and to express my admiration for him.

For over a year, a small handful of individual citizens from both parties labored mightily to get enough south Orange County residents to sign a petition which asked that a measure be placed on the ballot to recall Steven J. Frogue from his position as a trustee of the South Orange County Community College District.

We failed in this effort, but our failure would have been far greater were it not for the public support of Schroeder and the Republican Party which he heads.

Schroeder had nothing to gain politically by coming to the support of our cause; in fact he may have been hurt by his principled stand against the anti-Semitism and bigotry which the tenure of Frogue on the board of trustees has reawakened among us.

But I and many others in the bipartisan recall effort will be forever grateful for what Schroeder did in our behalf. He stepped to the fore, the first major public figure to do so, in this episode in the never-ending struggle to keep America true to its principles. His is "a profile in courage."

REV. BUCKNER COE

Laguna Beach

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