Racist Emails Spark Possible Recall Campaign in Atwater

July 29, 2009 6:39:44 PM PDT
Outrage over the racist emails forwarded by an Atwater city council member has led to a possible recall campaign.Many people have called for Atwater City Council Member Gary Frago to resign since learning he forwarded a series of racist jokes over email. And now an Exclusive Action News Poll Conducted by SurveyUSA shows 47 percent of the people questioned who were aware of the emails believe Frago should leave office. Only 39 percent believe he should keep his job.

We contacted Frago for his reaction to the poll. He declined a recorded interview and would not say whether he's considering stepping down. But he did say he made a mistake and hopes to move forward now that he has publicly apologized.

However, Atwater resident Al Mayfield, who was coincidentally polled for our survey, says that's not good enough. And now he has pulled the paperwork to begin a recall campaign.

Mayfield said, "If that's the type of decisions he makes, that's bad decision making. He should be recalled."

Poll participants were also asked whether the city should reprimand Frago if he stays in office. 71 percent said yes. Mayor Joan Faul says the council did reprimand him by unanimously voting to issue a letter of disapproval on Monday. And she adds the city is now planning steps like sensitivity training.

"I think we've all learned from this email incident, and the main thing is that it never happens again," said Mayor Faul.

Former Atwater Council Member Andy Krotik says Frago has certainly learned from his mistake. And while Krotik feels the emails were wrong and hurtful, he hopes the community can see beyond them.

Krotik said, "This is a man that spent 25 years saving lives as a firefighter in Atwater and nine years on the council making decisions for Atwater. He's remorseful. There's a lot of healing that needs to be done. But look at the whole thing before you condemn him."

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