The campaign to recall Fresno Unified trustee Terry Slatic will take another step forward Sunday with a kickoff fundraiser.
“An Evening of Food, Music & Wonderful People” will be held in the home of Howard and Christine Watkins at 1785 W. Dovewood Lane in Fresno from 4 to 6 p.m. Local folk musician Jemmy Bluestein is scheduled to perform.
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Participants are asked to donate $50 per person, or “what you can.”
The event is being publicized on the Fresno County Democrats organization website.
Building A Campaign Chest
Watkins, a retired attorney well known for documenting public events and figures with his photographs, told GV Wire on Wednesday that the campaign has a challenge match of $5,000, which he expects will be met within the next few weeks.
“A lot of people are literally outraged,” he said. “They’ve had enough, and they’re saying ‘I want to step up and do some something.’ ”
Slatic, who was elected in November 2018, was censured by the school board in August after a series of incidents involving Bullard High School students and staff, and an Army recruiter at the northwest Fresno school. It was a rare public rebuke of a fellow board member.
Watkins said the recall campaign has gathered steam because Slatic has not shown any signs of remorse or reform, including his rejection of the anger management program that the censure resolution requires.
“When all the other board members say you need to do this, to me that’s significant,” he said.
Call for Recall Fueled by Controversies
Rumblings of a recall movement had surfaced in July when parents demanded a special board meeting to address Slatic’s meeting with a Bullard cheerleading squad over the so-called blackface incident.
Recall proponents must carefully follow a step-by-step process that includes gathering signatures for an election, and any misstep can set back the campaign.
In August the recall group filed paperwork with the Fresno County Clerk’s Office that established the campaign committee and named a treasurer.
Watkins said he expects the committee will file a Notice of Intention with the clerk’s office within the next few weeks. The group’s goal is to gather 10,000 signatures on recall petitions — a third more than will be needed, in case of challenges — so the recall election can be added to the March 7 primary ballot.
The Clerk’s Office confirmed Wednesday that no paperwork has been filed.
Watkins said he doesn’t know if any candidates to challenge Slatic in the recall have surfaced.
Slatic Says It’s Up to Voters
“If enough of them want me to stop serving the people of northwest Fresno, they can clearly message it to me this way or any other time, and I will happily go back into retirement,” he said. “If they want me, I’m happy to stay; if they don’t want me, I’m happy to go.”