Effort to recall Klein abandoned | TheUnion.com

Effort to recall Klein abandoned

A group seeking to recall recently elected Sierra College Trustee Aaron Klein has abandoned the effort, one of the key organizers said Wednesday.

Kent Pollock, a journalism instructor at Sierra College and critic of Klein, said his group would no longer seek to remove Klein from the seven-member board of trustees.

“We’re putting it behind us,” Pollock said.

Pollock in January registered the domain name http://www.recallaaronklein.com that he hoped to use in connection with a recall effort.

Those connected with the recall effort cited the hefty cost of a special election this year – estimated by Placer County officials to cost at least $500,000 – and the recall’s slim chance for passage.

Klein was the driving force behind the retirement of Sierra College President Kevin Ramirez, who stepped down in January after nearly 12 years as head of the 22,000-student, four-campus system. In December, Klein asked for the president’s resignation, citing alleged fiscal improprieties committed by the president during the failed campaign for a $384 million bond last March and in subsequent successful bond campaigns for Truckee and the Nevada County Campus in November.

Ramirez, the college and the Sierra College Foundation, where $100,000 in funds were purportedly diverted, have denied any wrongdoing.

Klein, 26, a software developer from Colfax, has strong ties to the Placer County Republican Central Committee. In Placer County, where the Sierra Community College District is based, those seeking to recall Klein would have needed to submit more than 10,000 signatures supporting the recall. In Placer County, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

Klein said he wasn’t concerned about the recall effort.

“I’m way too busy serving the taxpayers in this position to let that take up my day,” he said. “I know that I have served in the best interests of Sierra College and I feel confident that I can put my faith in the voters at any time. It’s clear that the voters know I’m doing the job for them.”

Pollock said he was pulling the plug on the embryonic recall effort not because of the difficulties in securing the signatures, but because he wanted the college to move forward.

In a statement, Pollock said, “It became apparent that the recall effort was not going to be good for the school. Dr. Ramirez said he was retiring to get the focus back on the college and its incredible accomplishments. We’re dropping the recall effort for the same reason.”

“It became really clear that we would not create a positive environment for the school had we pursued this,” Pollock said in an interview Wednesday. “We could have gotten the signatures. That wasn’t the question.”

Brian Haley, president of the management senate at Sierra College, said the recall cost played a factor in the decision to drop the effort. More importantly, it would have cast a negative pall over the college, he said.

“I think we’ll just pay a lot of attention to the board elections in 2006,” he said.

Trustees Barbara Vineyard, Dave Ferrari, Nancy Palmer and Dave Creek are up for re-election that year.

Ferrari said he’s looking forward to working with his fellow trustees, including Klein, on building up Sierra College’s campuses in Truckee and western Nevada County. Tuesday, trustees floated an idea for a local bond for south Placer County to address the needs of tens of thousands of new students the district expects in several years.

“What we do as a board is too important for us to get involved in a recall election,” said Ferrari. “I think we’re starting to work better as a board, and it’s going to help us to move forward.”

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