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Orange County Activists Seek Recall of Local Assemblyman

April 27th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

He’ll fight: "I’ll do everything that is necessary," he says

Adams - 1 "On behalf of the taxpayers of the 59th District, let the games begin," Michael Schroeder announced as he served recall papers on Assemblyman Anthony Adams, the 59th District Republican representative to the California State Assembly who represents about a half million people in a district made up of 17 cities in two counties.  Adams’ District includes Arcadia, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Bradbury, Claremont, Glendora, La Verne, San Dimas, La Crescenta-Montrose and Claremont in Los Angeles County and Apple Valley, Hesperia, Crestline, Lake Arrowhead communities, Highland, Mentone, Redlands and San Bernardino in San Bernardino County. 
The Recall Petition was hand-carried by Schroeder, a former California Republican Party Chair, acting on behalf of an Orange County political action committee, Atlas PAC, to a well-attended fund-raising event to benefit the assemblyman held in a private home in Glendora that was attended by Governor Schwarzenegger as a celebrity-guest, California Senator Abel Maldonado and others prominent in local Republican politics.  The petition had been signed by 55 of Adams’ constituents—but not by Schroeder himself since the server can not be a signatory by law and he is not from any of the communities served by Adams. 
The recall effort was started after Adams broke ranks with his fellow Sacramento Republicans in the assembly to vote for the budget deal that Schwarzenegger had crafted with Democrats.  Three other Republicans joined in the vote on the budget and they have faced the ire of party officials in actions that have included dumping the Minority Leader, threatening more recalls and removing Adams from San Bernardino County party leadership status which importantly includes financial backing for election campaigns.
Recall proponents say that Adams gave his solemn word that he would not vote to raise taxes.  The vote that passed both the Assembly and Senate in February after months of wrangling resulted in not only approval of the budget but an increase of 1% in the State sales tax, a quarter-percent raise in income taxes, and the nearly doubling of the vehicle registration fee. 
Adams defends his actions as a responsible step to get California out of its financial mess.  At the time of the vote, the state faced a $42 billion budget deficit.  The budget agreement set up the ballot measures, now known as 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E and 1F, to close the deficit.  These measures will be voted on in a special election on May 19.  A state agency recently projected that the deficit may increase another $8 billion.  It is this difficult budget outlook that brought Adams and two other Republicans to join the Republican Governor and the Democrats in an effort to control state spending and close the revenue gap.   
But, Schroeder and his partner in the effort, co-chair of Atlas PAC, Lee Lowrey, are using political skills to show that Republicans stand firm behind a policy of not raising taxes and representatives who break with that position will be punished.  The State Republican Party has meted punishment not only to Adams but to Roger Niello and Mike Villines in the Assembly and Roy Ashburn, Dave Cogdill and Abel Maldonado in the Senate by removing access to campaign funding.
Adams’ response to the recall effort is fierce. 
"We have two Orange County activists telling us how to spend our money in Los Angeles County," Adams complained in a telephone interview. 
Adams is more than a little peeved that if the required 36,000 or so valid signatures of registered voters in the 59th District are found within 160 days, and the Governor calls for a special election, State law provides that the cost of the election will be borne only by taxpayers within the District only, a cost that is estimated to come close to $1 million.  Adams is angry that everyone in the District will be unfairly asked to pay for this action by outsiders.  He allowed as how the 59th District has plenty of better ways to spend that money.
"I will work diligently to make sure their efforts are not successful.  I will do everything that is necessary.  At the same time, I will not be derelict in my duties in Sacramento," he asserted. 
Among other assignments, he serves as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Redistricting Committee, an important job given that a new Census will be taken in 2010 and population shifts are likely to change the political landscape.  Also, new rules on shaping Districts will be implemented as a result of changes called for by voters in the November election.
Although no campaign offices have been opened by Adams, plans are under way.  "We have received calls and offers of support for the anti-recall campaign.  People want to do phone banks, post signs, and walk precincts," he said. 
Interest in the recall has been unusual in that it has become part of KFI’s John and Ken show, the conservative talk-show hosts who steam at issues like this: what they see as a tax-invoking political traitor.  Also, the out-of-town nature of the Orange County-based Atlas PAC, the organization behind the Adams recall, is seen as unique.   
The leading spokesman for the Atlas PAC, Mike Schroeder, has served Republicans in fund-raising efforts.  He is a former chair of the California Republican Party, served as political aide to Orange County Sheriff, Mike Corona, and most recently was Political Director in Steve Poizner’s campaign for Insurance Commissioner.Adams - 2
Locally, Monrovia resident and retired State Senator, Dick Mountjoy, who served the 59th District as Assemblyman from 1978 to 1994, appears to be making himself available as a candidate should the recall be successful.  An internet site, Flash Report, said that Mountjoy’s name appeared first on the Recall Petition that was handed to Adams at the fund-raiser.
Adams mused, "Mountjoy has indicated he would be a willing candidate should be recall succeed.  But it won’t."
Although reports of financial support for the Atlas PAC have been reported, the local Committee to Recall Adams, listed at 417 B W. Foothill Blvd., Glendora #421 is in fact a UPS Store and #421 is a mail-box. 
A clerk at the store said that no one had been to the box, to her knowledge, "in a couple of months".

By Bill Peters

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