Dubliners United achieved a victory earlier this month when three members of the Dublin City Council declined to put a measure on the ballot to give voters the option of changing the 8-year term limits in the city.
That’s no surprise given how popular term limits are with the voting public.
There remains, however, much on the plate for the fledgling political action group. In December it served recall papers to councilmen Abe Gupta and Don Biddle as well as school trustee Dan Cunningham. When I talked with Bobby Khullar, the spokesman for the group, he explained that they had not started the signature gathering effort because they were still working with the city and the county on language and did not have their official recall number.
He hoped to have that by the end of January, which will mean a huge time crunch to get the minimum of 5,400 signatures to put the measure on the ballot. The crunch is the June ballot, which closes in March. Unless the signatures can get gathered within two to three weeks (they have 90 days by law) and the county expedites its verification process (the law allows up to 30 days), the chances of making the June ballot are slim.
That calls the entire council effort into question because Biddle is termed out in November and Gupta, should he run for re-election, will be on the ballot. That’s not the case with Cunningham whose term runs until 2020.
Once the number is obtained, Khullar feels his group has momentum. He pointed out the social media action for and against their plans. He estimated that about 300 people were engaged with a core group of 30 led by about 10 people. When asked if this pitted the newer eastside residents against the west, he insisted it is not an east-west thing.
“It’s an overall Dublin thing. The number of students at the high school effects the entire city,” he said.
He said that he and his colleagues have been frustrated that the city council has done nothing to slow down growth despite the over-crowded schools.
He said fundraising has gone well once the group could legally collect funds—topping $12,000 in three days. When asked about the cost of an election, he pointed out that they had raised all their money and, should the signatures be gathered, the members could save the city money by resigning.
In an email sent to supporters on Jan. 10, he wrote about the City Council meeting, “There were some abnormalities - The city council meeting started off by two women (I will not say names), calling the recall a waste of time. I would argue that our effort is about improving Dublin for us and our children and we can’t think of a better way to spend our time and resources. Please note that our message is being heard loud and clear not just in Dublin but throughout the Bay Area. That is why these “the others” are coming out in protest. If the movement wasn’t generating traction, then they would not need to come out and stand against us.”