Steve Vaus has twice been nominated for Grammys for children’s records released in 2007 and 2008. He wrote the Jerome’s and Barona Casino TV jingles, and he’s done studio work for Willie Nelson, Kim Carnes, and Randy Travis.
Critics suggest Vaus has found a new way to push his two new albums and an upcoming concert he’s promoting: he is spearheading a recall of Poway councilwoman Betty Rexford.
“My husband and I have been involved in Poway since 1984, and we never heard of this guy,” says Virginia Hargarten, who supports Rexford. “He’s never belonged to any club or been involved in city affairs. It seems like he’s doing this just to get his name in the paper. It’s interesting that he’s all of a sudden interested in local politics.”
Vaus, as spokesman and organizer of the Rexford recall, has been featured in several articles in the Union-Tribune and North County Times, and he may be successful: all four of Rexford’s fellow councilmembers asked her to step down over accusations that she tried to get city employees to help her with personal matters.
“People are angry,” says Vaus. “I was just the person who stepped in front of the parade. Betty has a reputation for bullying and badgering. Why should somebody be prohibited from participating in the democratic process just because they have a business in town?” Vaus says he will easily get the 5700 signatures needed to oust Rexford.
Vaus performs and records as Buck Howdy, a singing cowboy who sings children’s tunes.
“The recall is completely separate and apart from [Buck Howdy]. I have ceased all promotional activities in order to work on this.”
Or has he?
The website stevevaus.com has a link to recallrexford.com. And Poway resident Chris Cruse says residents who supported the website were asked to buy tickets for the Carols by Candlelight concert that Vaus is promoting. The annual fund-raising concert is December 11 and 12 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, and features LeAnn Rimes, the Little River Band, and Buck Howdy. Vaus says the event is a fund-raiser for Rady Children’s Hospital.
“Steve is using the recall to go phishing for email addresses for his fund-raiser,” says Cruse. Tickets for this year’s show range from $30 to $100.