This newspaper called for Dawson’s resignation on Sept. 29 in the wake of his arrest on misdemeanor domestic violence charges on Aug. 27. In the days following the incident, he acknowledged – and apologized for – having made a mistake. But on Sept. 21 at the first CSD meeting after the incident, not a word was spoken about it – by Dawson or any of the other directors. Nor was it mentioned that two directors had publicly called for his resignation, or that talk of a recall election had begun.
The board’s inability to discuss the greatest, most pressing issue before it convinced us that it would continue to be dysfunctional with Dawson on it. We also felt it might be more advantageous to his health, and that of his family, for them to face the challenges before them outside the spotlight of public office.
Dawson’s initial decision to stay the course in the face of a recall is understandable. He joined a fractured board in an appointment process that was itself highly contentious. The argumentative nature of Discovery Bay politics made Dawson’s tenacity a given. It was one of the things that appealed to the voters who elected him, and it’s the primary reason kids have a basketball court to play on in Regatta Park today.
The toll the escalating campaign was taking on Dawson’s health and the concern for the impact the recall could make on the town’s finances and community harmony led Dawson to change course and offer his resignation on Monday. His decision amounts to more than the turnover of a seat on the CSD board, however. It elevates the importance of health and domestic-violence issues above that of politics, and that’s how things should be. It was a most personal decision made in a most public fashion, a courageous move that sets an example others should consider when deciding how priorities are arranged.
There are some circumstances surrounding the actions of both sides during the recall effort that will be looked at further, but we’ll not address those here. We just want to congratulate Dawson for making the right choice under extreme conditions, and hope he, his family and the town find smoother waters ahead.