Letter to the Editor: A recall is the antithesis of democracy

To the editor,

Rio Grande County citizens are learning this week of an effort to gather signatures for a petition to recall Commissioner John Noffsker.

That’s very sad, but not surprising; many of us supported Mr. Noffsker because we were certain that he would be an agent of much-needed major change in RGC administration, management and most importantly, in the policies and future outlook of the County. And major changes in policy and personnel often involve difficult and unpopular measures.

Sponsors of the recall effort will be asking for citizens’ signatures over the next several days. I expect that they may be successful, based primarily on a negative emotional appeal, in gathering enough signatures to put the recall issue on the November ballot. But those of you who are asked to sign should remember these three factors:

An objective review of the voluntary and requested personnel changes, which appear to be a major reason for the recall effort, will show that although these changes were stressful for the individuals involved, they were, on balance, beneficial to County operations.

A fair assessment of Mr. Noffsker and the other Commissioners will show that their performance has been, for the most part, of considerable benefit to the County – worthy of praise, not condemnation.

The recall instigators are likely to maintain, in their defense that their effort is “democracy in action.” A recall is the antithesis of democracy. A small group of people intending to void the result of a valid, fair, and democratic election is about as undemocratic as you can get. This probably is a basic reason why a 2018 study showed that almost two-thirds of recall efforts of state and local officials either didn’t make it to the ballot or were defeated by vote.

I urge all Rio Grande County citizens to think and act much more on the basis of objectivity and reason and very much less on emotion. A fair evaluation will show that we have in Mr. Noffsker a good public servant. Let’s keep him in place.

Charles Spielman
Monte Vista


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