Elected officials become “the untouchables”

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dear Editor,

Who are the modern day untouchables in Alabama? Every elected official in the state, from the smallest town council all the way to the governor’s office.

Recall is the power of the people to recall elected officials. In Alabama, we do not have that power.

If your elected officials do not do what you want them to do, you cannot get rid of them until the next election.

They can do a lot of damage in four years.

If they decide to put a surface mine, landfill, hazardous waste disposal site or anything else in your back yard, there is nothing you can do about it. They will be in office until the next election.

Alabama State Law gives zoning power to the local municipalities. The local municipalities are supposed to listen to their citizens and act accordingly. When they do that, everything works just fine. But when they don’t listen or fail to act accordingly, the citizens have no recourse.

We’ve all heard that “you can’t fight City Hall.” And usually you can’t. The main reason you can’t is that you can’t recall them.

The citizens of Vincent, Alabama have recently been ignored and betrayed by their elected officials. That has left us feeling totally helpless. I hope this never happens to any other citizen of Alabama, but without the power to recall, it could.

Representative Treadaway sponsored a recall bill in 2009 that would give the citizens of Alabama the right to recall public officials. It died in committee. I wonder why. Do the elected officials in Alabama want to deny the citizens the power to recall them? Is this a democracy? Whatever happened to government of the people, for the people, by the people? Where is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and liberty and justice for all?

Our senators and legislators need to do two things for the citizens of Alabama.

First, the people should be allowed to vote on zoning that would affect their community.

Second, the people should be allowed to recall officials who do not react to the will of the majority of the citizens.

Our senators and legislators should do this, not because it will help them to get re-elected, they should do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Let the majority rule!

This is the democracy that I learned in school.

Charles Cantrell