Tuesday’s Column (The recall of Anthony Adams)

Paul Horcher Monday had some advice for Anthony Adams: “Hire a good lawyer.”

Adams, a Republican who represents the 59th state Assembly District is facing a recall that will probably end his political career.

Adams had better surround himself with only the most able advisors, Horcher said.

“I’d tell him, `you can defeat these things,”‘ Horcher said. “`Get a good campaign organizer who can do good polling.”‘

As for the opposition Adams will face: “They will get very serious. They mean business,” Horcher added.

He should know.

A Republican who once represented Diamond Bar in the state Assembly, Horcher earned the distinction of being the first state legislator recalled by voters in 80 years. No one remembers who the other guy was.

Horcher’s recall came on the heels of his vote to make San Francisco Democrat Willie Brown speaker of the California State Assembly.

The vote against the GOP and its leader Jim Brulte cast Horcher as a key figure in a battle of political ideology that reverberates through the state to this day.

Term limits, continued gerrymandering and total Democratic control of the state legislature since the late 1990s likely stemmed from that one vote.

“I was just a middle of the road individual,” Horcher said. “Both sides try to run me over.”

Nonetheless, the GOP mounted a recall that ended in Horcher being tossed from office by a conservative electorate ticked off over higher taxes and scared of the Bogeyman they saw in Brown.

Last week for voters in the San Gabriel Valley, it was deja vu all over again.

Voters in Adams’ district (and around the state) got ticked off when the assemblyman broke ranks with his party and voted for a state budget that includes the most onerous tax increases ever imposed on Californians.

In the 1995 recall, the campaign to oust Horcher was led by a spurned Brulte and a Republican Party which marshalled money and the political might to throw their former colleague out of office.

After a lopsided loss, Horcher left Sacramento and took a job as Sanitation Commissioner under Willie Brown when he became mayor of San Francisco. Horcher’s semi-retired now and splits time between the City and and a home in Diamond Bar.

A mere 14 years ago, the Internet, still powered by 56k modems and a loose collection of ham radio-type geeks, played a minor role in politics.

Talk radio pretty much stayed out of the fray.

How times have changed. Elected Republicans seem to be siding with their colleague Adams. They’ve poured no money into the recall effort and the GOP leadership has given no visible support to the groundswell of righteous anti-tax sentiment.

Instead, the call to recall is coming from the grassroots, stoked by anger over taxes, Internet bloggers and the powerful talk radio duo of John and Ken.

As Horcher sees it, Adams faces an uphill battle.

“Probably the only thing he can do at this point is find a good judge,” Horcher said. “That’s probably the only way he’ll ever derail this thing.”