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May 5, 2010 (Lakeside) -- Lakeside First, a citizens' oversight group formed in February 2010, announced today that it will suspend its recall campaign against Lakeside Fire Board Directors Nick Johnson and Jim Bingham. The action came after Lakeside First board members voted in a near-unanimous decision that the recall campaign was no longer supported by the majority of the board.

Former Lakeside First Chair, Milt Cyphert, stated that “While there were various reasons for the board’s decision, one major factor was that a special election could cost the district over $360,000. In the face of an $800,000 deficit, most of our board did not think this was in the best interest of Lakeside.” Cyphert also stated that most board members believed the community could achieve its goals without a costly and divisive recall campaign.

The mission of Lakeside First was to foster transparency, create accountability, and preserve the integrity of our governing boards, its members and our community leaders and officials. “These are good values that everyone should rally behind,” said Cyphert. Cyphert says this can only be achieved if the community stays involved and attends community meetings.

“The only way our community can truly take back our governing boards is through community involvement. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to be active and informed. We don’t need ‘Lakeside First’ to accomplish that.”

Cyphert is still concerned by the actions of the Lakeside Fire Board members. He notes that whenever a governing board is controlled by a special interest, such as a union, there is an inherent conflict of interest and oftentimes decisions are made that are not in the best interest of the larger community. He points to the fact that union connected Directors of the fireboard are now making decisions about wage negotiations with the union. “That is the fox watching the hen house,” said Cyphert. “It could be a good fox, but you had better not leave it alone.”

While ‘Lakeside First’ is no longer leading the recall campaign, Cyphert added that there is nothing precluding any Lakeside citizen from continuing the effort, and he invited anyone who feels strongly about the recall to take over the campaign. “Our board has spoken, and that is who I am accountable to. We all need to act consistently with our core values. If anyone disagrees with our board’s decision to stop the recall, then I expect to see them out on the streets getting more signatures. Each of us needs to be accountable, and your vote is in your action.”


Editor's note:  Lakeside First issued a correction on an earlier release, which incorrectly indicated that the group had disbanded.  

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