Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some history -- Detroit Mayor recall in 1930 and the "first big-city mayor" to be recalled

This is the second time I've seen the phrase "first big-city mayor" to be recalled this week. Detroit Mayor Charles Bowles was kick out in 1930, after 8 months in office (121,000-90,000). The other time was in a story about the L.A. Mayor recall of 1938. I would say both are wrong. L.A. Mayor A.C. Harper resigned days before a recall vote in 1909, and then Hiram Gill of Seattle lost a recall vote in 1912.

This story is an interesting one, though:
The irate soon-to-be-former mayor — whose backers had spent Election Day driving around in cars with “vote no” signs and offering free rides to voters — told the city clerk, “You know that this whole thing is a gigantic conspiracy and fraud, and you are party to it.”
The day before the recall, the Free Press ran a front-page editorial urging readers to unseat Bowles. After the recall, the paper called it “the most remarkable political happening in the history of the city, possibly the most remarkable one in the history of any great American municipality. Today the event commands attention from the entire nation. ... (The newspaper) has no feelings of exultation.”
Bowles, who’d been backed by the Ku Klux Klan, was a Yale, St. Clair County, native who graduated from what is today Ferris State University and the University of Michigan’s law school.

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