Candidate John Forse is withdrawing from Lincoln City’s mayoral race and wants voters to give former mayor Don Williams the job.
The mayor vacancy, created by Dick Anderson’s upward move to the Oregon State Senate, will be for a term of 18 months. Lincoln City’s City Council made the decision to hold a special election for May 18.
“Don has the experience and integrity Lincoln City needs,” Forse said. “He wants to hold our government accountable like I do, so I’m asking everyone who was going to vote for me to vote for Don Williams.”
Williams was Lincoln City Mayor from 2014-2018 and was the target of secret investigations from the Oregon Department of Justice due to charges leveled by City Attorney Richard Appicello in 2015. The DOJ dropped its investigation of Williams in 2016 and on Feb. 26, 2018, the Lincoln City City Council and City attorney apologized to Mayor Don Williams and one of his supporters, Ross Smith, after spending $112,000 taxpayer dollars on four attempts to oust him from office.
Forse said he ran for mayor to hold specific city leaders accountable, such as departing City Manager Ron Chandler, who is taking the city manager job in Silverton. Forse says Chandler was instrumental against him running his Nelscott Reef Big Wave Classic surfing competition, along with Appicello and Explore Lincoln City Director Ed Dreistadt.
“These guys allowed another surfing competition to run unpermitted, rip-off local businesses and put lives in jeopardy,” Forse said. “They need to go.”
“John has demonstrated what I have always looked for in citizens that have an issue with the city,” Williams said. “He didn’t just complain. He got involved. I thank him for his efforts and support.”
When asked why he wants voters to select Williams over the other candidates –Riley Hoagland, Susan Wahlke and Fernando Garza– Forse said: “Isn’t it obvious?”
“Susan Wahlke voted against me for a $30,000 grant for my surfing competition while she was up for a grant for the Lincoln City Sand Castle Contest at the same time,” Forse said. “Wahlke should have recused herself.”
“Hoagland thinks he’s a big-cheese politician. I think he’s more concerned about the title than any substance to his work,” Forse said.
“I don’t know anything about Fernando Garza,” he said.
According to the Lincoln County Clerks office, ballots will be mailed out April 28 and Forse will be on them. It is not uncommon for candidates to want to withdraw from an election but due to election laws they only have three days to do so and that time has passed.
Forse said he would resign if elected.
Voters will have until May 18 to cast their vote.