Don Bankhead, a former Fullerton City Council member who was recalled last June, is seeking re-election this coming November.
It may sound strange for a politician to attempt such a quick rebound, but Bankhead’s tale gets even more bizarre.
Bankhead was also serving as a council member back in 1994, and he was recalled then as well. Mere months after his recall in 1994, he won re-election and served up until his recall in June.
That’s right. For those of you following along at home, Bankhead was elected, then recalled, then re-elected, then recalled, and is now seeking re-election again. A clever enough choreographer could probably craft a dance routine out of his political career.
Imagine for a minute that you’re watching a man building a fence, and he comes across a stubborn nail that somehow breaks his favorite hammer. He comes back the next day with a brand new hammer, but the job proves to be too tough, and breaks that hammer as well.
Now imagine that, instead of doing the logical thing and buying a more reliable hammer, he goes dumpster diving for his original hammer and tries to duct tape it back to its former glory.
This kind of thinking sounds crazy enough in an everyday situation, so you would think that the public would be wary of applying it to a sensitive area such as politics. Apparently not, as Bankhead has succeeded in rebounding from a recall once, and seems confident in his ability to pull it off a second time.
Despite this, the Orange County Register reported that there are 70,000 registered voters in Fullerton, and that of the 20,000 of those who voted in the recall election, 66 percent voted in favor of recalling Bankhead.
Maybe a different crowd of people show up to vote in recall elections compared to standard elections. Or, perhaps there is a legitimate shift in opinion during the months following the recall, and a sense of political nostalgia is created for the last season’s incumbents.
In this case, Bankhead was ousted from his position on the council during the recall election that was brought on as a reaction to the now infamous Kelly Thomas case. The public outcry against a homeless man being beaten to death in an encounter with the police sparked a number of movements, not the least of which was a demand to recall the council members whom the public thought weren’t doing an ideal job of managing the situation.
In the end, Bankhead was recalled, along with fellow council members F. Richard Jones and Pat McKinley.
While it is certainly possible that the public suddenly changed their minds, as political loyalty has always been a rather fickle thing, the more likely scenario is perhaps a more cynical reality.
It goes without saying that local elections have a visible effect on the city. Visible in that you can’t drive to school without seeing campaign signs plastered all over every fence and free patch of dirt, at least.
People who care enough to vote get swept up in this sort of thing, and by the time they reach the ballot box, it’s not unlikely that they’ve forgotten the details of the previous election. All they can remember by the time they pull the lever are the catchy slogans and witty jabs of the last few months.
Back to the hammer example, it would be as if when the man broke his second hammer, he then saw an ad on TV for his original hammer.
Suddenly his desire to patch up his old hammer seems a bit more reasonable, even though the fact remains that the old hammer couldn’t do the job.
Let’s hope for Bankhead’s sake that “solution” works better in politics than on nails.