By Zia Zografos
The effort to recall five members of Huntington Beach’s city council continues to be pushed forward by the “Save Surf City” group. Mayor Kim Carr, council members Dan Kalmick, Mike Posey, Barbara Delgleize, and Natalie Moser are the five members the group is aiming to recall.
After numerous setbacks from missing prior petition deadlines, the recall group must now re-gather signatures and submit their petitions by February 7, 2022 for councilmembers Delgleize and Moser, and February 23, 2022 for councilmembers Carr, Kalmick and Posey.
Save Surf City did not reply to requests for comment, but according to the group’s website, they have thus far only published the Notice of Intention and filed the Draft Recall Petition. The recall group believes that the City Council has stopped working for the interest of, and has lied to, its citizens and is instead only catering to special interest groups.
Representatives and supporters of the recall efforts have been pouring into City Council meetings to voice their frustrations. Carrie Swan, one of the lead proponents of the Save Surf City recall, gave her input on what she felt is taking place within Huntington Beach over the past few months, at the Nov. 16 meeting
“This is not a city council or a functioning government, it’s a hostile takeover,” said Swan. “From targeting small businesses like the beloved, 30-year Art -A-Faire, the corner market, weaponizing code enforcement, abuse of power… Neutering the finance commission, such that you might as well cancel it completely as it will provide no beneficial transparency or oversight for the citizens, guess that was the point, right?”
Issues surrounding local zoning control, building high-density public housing, homeless shelter funding, green energy usage, and “appointing agenda-driven members like their appointment of Rhonda Bolton to [the] City Council” are the group’s main points of contention.
The latter event may have been the trigger to the recall effort. When Vice Mayor Tito Ortiz resigned his post on June 1 after several contentious several months in office, his supporters urged the appointment of Gracey Van Der Mark, who had finished fourth in the 2020 council election (the top three are elected). But she was a controversial figure for her previous comments about race, and Bolton was chosen instead.
The exact number of signatures needed for the recall will require 10 percent of eligible voters (or 13,352 signatures), which has just been updated per the Secretary of State’s most recent voter registration document, published in September 2021.
However, the Orange County Registrar of Voters recommends securing 50 percent more signatures than required, which would require Save Surf City to amass a total of 20,028 signatures.
All votes are verified through the Orange County Registrar of Voters to ensure the voting numbers are valid and not duplicated, and consist of those who are registered voters.
What are the next steps? Once the petition is delivered, a rough count of the signatures is taken by the city clerk’s office, and if the necessary amount of signatures appears to have been met, the petition is immediately delivered to the Orange County Registrar of Voters to certify within 30 business days. Once the signatures are verified, the results are sent back for the city council to call for a recall election, which must be called within a timeframe of two weeks.
According to City Clerk Robin Estanislau, recall elections may be consolidated with the next pre-scheduled county election, when possible. In this case, it would be the June 7, 2022 primary election.
However, based on the timeframe that is allotted for signature verification, it would be necessary for Save Surf City to deliver their petitions early enough to meet the March 11 deadline in order to qualify for the ballot.
Estanislau elaborated further on the final step for a potential recall election: “If and when a petition is certified for election, the city council will issue the order to hold a special recall election, and at the city’s expense, the county Registrar of Voters will determine an election date and administer the election. Once the election date is established, a candidate nomination period will be identified accordingly.”
Categories: Huntington Beach