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Group Plans Recall Effort Over Special Prosecutor

February 26, 1998|DEBRA CANO

A taxpayer group served Councilmen Lou Lopez and Bob Zemel with recall notices Tuesday, accusing the two of hiring an independent prosecutor for their political gain.

The action came after an effort by Councilwoman Shirley McCracken to reconsider the contract of independent prosecutor Ravi Mehta failed for lack of a second.

Lopez and Zemel voted to hire Mehta in September.

Members of Taxpayers Expecting Accountability have criticized Mehta's services as being too costly, and they claim his investigations into alleged violations of state and local campaign contribution laws by several city officials has been targeted at political foes of Lopez and Zemel.

Both councilmen declined to comment on the recall effort. In the past, Zemel has defended the investigation, and denied it was being used selectively.

Mehta has billed the city for more than $100,000 for his work so far, which has included filing misdemeanor complaints against Mayor Tom Daly, among others, that are pending.

Council terms for Lopez and Zemel expire in November. Lopez is raising money to campaign for a county supervisor's seat, and Zemel has indicated he may vie for another elected post.

But members of the taxpayers group said they are prepared to move forward with the recall. They will need to collect about 10,000 voter signatures to force a recall election.

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