Righeimer Recall Campaign Launched
According to the Facebook Event page he formed - Righeimer Recall - McEvoy's meeting Wednesday will be held at 898 Towne Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92627. McEvoy has also created a website, http://friendsofcostamesasfuture.com/, where information relative to the recall effort will be posted.
I inquired of the Interim City Clerk, Brenda Green, earlier this week to clarify some points. She told me:
- McEvoy will be required to gather at least 9,086 valid signatures, which actually means he will probably need to produce over 10,000 to be sure he has enough.
- The names on the signatures are NOT public record. Petitions cannot be viewed nor copied. They are only open to the Election Official, and if the petition is not found to be sufficient, by the proponents of the petition and their representatives.
- The deadline for the signatures to be delivered to the City Clerk is May 15, 2013.
- The City would contract with the Registrar of Voters to validate the signatures. It is anticipated that the validation process will probably cost The City in the area of $25,000.
- Once the signatures are presented to the City Clerk they will be delivered to the Registrar of Voters for validation. He has 30 working days to complete that job, which would put his completion date at June 27th or thereabouts.
- Following the validation of the signatures, and assuming there are sufficient numbers validated, the Registrar returns the petitions to the Costa Mesa City Clerk and the City Council has fourteen (14) days to certify them. Assuming that 6/27 date, the council would likely certify them at their meeting on July 2nd.
- Once the petitions are certified by the City Council an election will be held between 88 and 125 days from that date. Again, assuming those dates above are accurate, that means the election would be held between the middle of October and the middle of November.
- The City would pay for the special election. The Registrar of Voters estimates it would cost roughly $200,000.
- The election would have two questions: 1) Should Jim Righeimer be recalled and, 2) If "yes", who should be elected to replace him? A list of qualified candidates would be included. Those candidates would have to go through the same process the candidates did for the recent election.
- Once the Registrar of Voters counts the votes and certifies the results of the election the City Council will vote on a resolution accepting the results, Righeimer will step down and a new council member will be seated. A new mayor and, possibly, mayor pro tem would be elected. The person elected to replace Righeimer would serve out the remainder of his term, which expires in 2014 - which would likely be around a year by the time this process plays out.
There are many variables in this timetable. If McEvoy returns the signatures sooner then the process is moved ahead. Regardless, IF - and it's a VERY BIG "IF", McEvoy is able to secure enough valid signatures to qualify for a recall election and IF - another VERY BIG "IF" - Righeimer were to be recalled, his replacement would not be seated for approximately a year from now, and would serve only the unexpired portion of Righeimer's term - a year.
IS IT WORTH IT?
The question many are asking themselves is, "Is this really worth the effort?" I suppose it depends on one's viewpoint. We've seen the damage he has done to our city in two years on the City Council and we have a pretty good idea of where he's heading into the last half of his term now. Righeimer has given us no reason to be optimistic about the future under his reign, so maybe another year of turmoil with a recall campaign is worth trimming his tour to 3 years, not four. And then there's the question of him running for re-election in 2014...
IS THE REASON VALID?
Don't get me wrong - I think Jim Righeimer has been a very divisive influence on our city almost since the day he arrived and his approach to problem-solving has proven to be disastrous. I'd be a happy guy if he stepped aside. However, the reason for the recall expressed on the petition is for his vote on the Banning Ranch traffic mitigation agreement, which has never been signed by The City and is now moot. The developers have failed to respond to the modifications The City requested so the fact is - we have no Banning Ranch Traffic Mitigation Agreement, period.
This is going to be very interesting. The clock is ticking on this effort. Gathering 10,000 valid signatures from registered Costa Mesa voters is going to be a real challenge, especially when many of them are exhausted from the recent election. It's going to be very interesting to see what kind of community response McEvoy receives as he begins this process.