Those seeking to recall Foster City Councilman Herb Perez point to two main issues with him — his behavior toward others and his pro-housing attitude. Often, the first comes into play when discussing the second. However, Perez and his foes have been known to spar over any number of issues. There is another matter of meeting attendance, which is in dispute, and if money is owed to the city for sponsorships, also in dispute. Thus, for us, the focus remains on behavior and housing. It is true that Perez has been rude at times, but that is not typically a matter for recall. In fact, neither being in favor of housing nor being rude rises to the level of recall. While there have been other recalls here and elsewhere that have not focused on ethical lapses or criminal behavior, typically one is not recalled for being mean.
For those so inclined, the time to remove Perez from office was during the last election, and he will be termed out soon enough. In Foster City, councilmembers are limited to two terms. Perez’s second term ends at the end of this year and an election for his seat will take place in November.
Recalls for personal disputes or for a disagreement over policy sets a dangerous precedent, and should be avoided. However, it should be stated clearly that there has been a lack of civility exhibited by Perez at times. Governing can be frustrating, yet a leader should lead by example and be civil to all — even to those with whom he or she disagrees. That is a more positive precedent to set, and one for which Perez has fallen short. Yet that is still no reason to recall him — especially with less than a year left on his term. It should also be noted that those who oppose Perez have not always been civil themselves, and they too should value the idea of disagreeing without being disagreeable. It is our hope that what comes out of this is a new awareness of the value of civility.
While we are coming out against the recall of Perez, it is also our responsibility to weigh in on who might replace him if sufficient numbers of voters decide to vote yes on the recall.
There are two candidates on the ballot: Jon Froomin, a former police chief and Foster City police captain; and Realtor Patrick Sullivan, who has been active in the community for years. Both are well-versed in the city and its issues and both would rise to the challenge. However, Froomin has the edge as his experience as both a public servant for the city and as a resident will provide a good balance on the council. His views seem reflective of the group seeking the recall, but he seems to have the ability to adapt to new information and modify accordingly.
This recall replacement candidate race could be seen as an early run for the seat Perez holds now, as he will be termed out. Froomin said he is running because this is his first chance to, as he is retired. Sullivan runs frequently and came close to winning a seat in the last election. Look for both to run for the open seat in November if the recall is successful, or if it is not successful. Between the two, however, Froomin is likely to come up to speed more quickly. If you choose to vote for a recall, he is your best choice as a replacement.