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Hughson citizens push for recall of three council members
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With three accused Hughson council members refusing to step down from office, a group of residents announced at Monday's meeting that they will be starting a recall election stating that they have no other choice.

"I am sad to do this, but at this point we have no other options," said George Carr, co-chairperson of the Citizens for Better City Government.

To start off the recall election process, residents must gather at least 753 signatures from registered voters of Hughson, said Candice Steelman, member of the Citizens for Better City Government. The signatures must all be certified.

At least three candidates would have to be willing to replace Thom Crowder, Doug Humphreys and Ben Manley on the council, Steelman said. Currently, four people are interested in taking the seats of the three council members who have lost the trust of some of their community members.

"Having a recall election is a big time commitment, expensive and an emotional commitment," noted Steelman.

Josh Whitfield, a political consultant working with the Citizens for Better City Government, advised that if Hughson residents to get "thick skinned" because from his experience, he has seen the opponents get pretty nasty.

Along with preparing for an emotional battle, the residents of Hughson will have to financially support the campaigns for the four candidates who could potentially take the positions of Crowder, Manley and Humphreys, Steelman said.

The recall effort is in response to behaviors of the three council members but mostly sprung from the Civil Grand Jury findings in December where councilmembers Manley, Crowder and Humphreys were found in violation of the state Brown Act, the Hughson Municipal Code and California Fair Political Practices Commission regulations.

A response to the Civil Grand Jury findings is required within 90 days of the findings, but the response drafted by Mayor Ramon Bawanan didn't pass at Monday's meeting with a 2-to-1 vote with Crowder and Manley is opposition. The response will be brought back at the next council meeting with a full council.

Along with a recall election announcement at Monday's meeting, Manley and Crowder who were in attendance took some heat from a hand full of residents and Bawanan.

"You work for the people of Hughson not vice versa," said Diane David, member of the Citizens for Better City Government. "Hughson will go on to better things and hopefully after the recall election, it will be without you Crowder."

Most comments were focused on Crowder, and even some on his lack of ethics training.

Every two years, an elected official is required to take a two-hour training course in Ethics. Crowder took his training in 20 minutes, which has stirred up some controversy among the residents.

"Ethics is doing what is right 100 percent of the time," said Pete Glen, Hughson resident.

"Ethics training is a waste of time," responded Crowder.

Those interested in joining the fight for or against the recall election can contact the Citizens for Better City Government at