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Ventura County

Recall of College Trustee Launched

Vote: Republican group seeks the ouster of Allan Jacobs over his support of the chancellor. Special election may be needed.

July 09, 2002|AMANDA COVARRUBIAS and MARGARET TALEV | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The group seeking to recall Ventura County Community College District Trustee Allan Jacobs will have to collect at least 12,500 signatures from registered voters to force a special election, which could cost the district $100,000, officials said.

The Ventura County Republican Assembly filed paperwork Monday with the registrar of voters to launch a recall against Jacobs, 72, for his public support of Chancellor Philip Westin, who has come under fire for spending $119,000 over a four-year period on business-related expenses.

Jacobs, a Republican first elected to the nonpartisan seat in 1991, said last week that he stands by his support of Westin and that voters should look at the district's accomplishments before rushing to judgment.

"I don't want this job necessarily," Jacobs said. "I'm on the board only because it's a public service and someone asked me to do it. I'll just throw out my [voting] record and let the public take a look at it."

But organization President Mike Robinson said Monday that Jacobs has "abandoned the hard-working taxpayers of Ventura County."

"Allan Jacobs has allowed the chancellor to charge outrageous reimbursements to the taxpayers," Robinson said in a statement filed with the registrar. "He has failed to hold the chancellor accountable for his use of taxpayer dollars.... When the chancellor's abuse of office became public, Allan Jacobs states that his spending 'wasn't something we felt needed to be reviewed.' "

Robinson said the conservative group is also upset that Jacobs voted with a majority of board members last spring to grant Westin a $30,000 raise after learning about the chancellor's spending habits and after county voters approved a $356-million bond measure to upgrade the district's three campuses.

Board President Norman Nagel and trustees Art Hernandez and John Tallman are up for reelection in November. Robinson said his 109-member group is monitoring the statements and actions of trustee Bob Gonzales to see where he stands on Westin's future with the district.

The terms of both Gonzales and Jacobs expire in 2004.

Even if the organization gathers the necessary number of signatures from residents of Simi Valley, Somis and Moorpark--the area that Jacobs represents on the five-member board--the recall would not make the November ballot because of verification deadlines, said Assistant County Registrar Bruce Bradley.

Signed petitions would have to be submitted to the county and certified by Aug. 9, he said. Because the county has a minimum of 88 days to verify that the signatures match voting records, they would not be certified in time to make the deadline, Bradley said.

Instead, the registrar would have to call a special election after November at a cost of at least $100,000 to the cash-strapped community college district.

Simi Valley resident Mary Albanese, a member of the organization, said it would not be difficult to gather the required number of signatures within the allotted time.

"People are outraged," she said.

Jason Spadaro, a Moorpark resident who will coordinate the signature-gathering effort, said volunteers will fan out to shopping centers, neighborhoods and churches with petitions in hand.

In general, only 80% of signatures collected on election petitions are verifiable, Bradley said.

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