|(May 25, 2018, 6:48 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that in the first batch of roughly a quarter of petitions submitted by proponents seeking to recall 2nd district Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, the City Clerk's office has determined that less than half are valid.
Of 2,430 petition signatures checked out of 9,050 petitions that the City Clerk says were submitted [a number different than recall proponents initially indicated, see below], the City Clerk's office has determined 1,035 are valid (a validity rate of roughly 42.59%).
Recall proponents need 6,363 valid signatures -- amounting to a validity rate of 70.30% of the 9,050 petitions the City Clerk says were submitted -- to trigger a special recall election .
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The City Clerk's tally indicates the lion's share of roughly 1,395 challenged and deemed invalid thus far were from signers deemed "out of district" (570) or "not registered" (545). Other grounds included an out of county or different address, or exceeding the maximum number of times signed, or no address or a mismatched signature. Six individuals canceled their signatures.
It's uncertain to what extent the 26.85% of signatures checked thus are representative of the remaining 73.15% of petitions that haven't been checked yet, but as a purely mathematical matter, the 6.620 signatures remaining to be checked would require a significantly higher validity rate to reach the 6,363 valid signatures needed to trigger a recall.
By LBREPORT.com's unofficial math, proponents need 5,328 more valid signatures to reach 6,363 (5,328 + 1,035 = 6,363). 5,328 is 80.48% of 6,363...meaning a little over eight in ten signatures remaining to be counted would have to be valid to trigger a recall.
Ian Patton, speaking for the recall proponents, told LBREPORT.com:
While I expect the validity rate to improve substantially as the Clerk's office digs deeper into our submission, it's impossible for me to know exactly where things will pan out. Our campaign gathered signatures with volunteers which had quite a high validity rate, but as with all petition campaigns in California -- including the recently submitted Long Beach hotel ordinance petition -- the vast lion's share of signatures are collected by paid signature gatherers. The paid signature program for the recall was handled not by our campaign directly but rather by our partner committee, Friends of Long Beach.
The City Clerk's office also came up with a different number of petition signatures submitted -- 412 less by the City Clerk's initial "raw count" than the recall proponents had tallied. Mr. Patton says that issue remains to be resolved.
Pearce's recall problems began after a June, 2017 2 a.m.-hour chain of events involving Pearce and her then-former Chief of Staff. Pearce wasn't arrested or criminally charged (DUI or domestic violence) but the circumstances brought to light a Council office relationship that included some type of exit/settlement agreement on terms not publicly disclosed between City and her former Chief of Staff that angered residents who questioned Pearce's fitness to remain in office.
A little less than two weeks after the recall proponents submitted their signatures, City Council meeting, Councilmembers Austin, Price, Supernaw and Andrews agendized an item to censure Pearce in connection with the incident (LBREPORT.com coverage here.
At the May 22, 2018 Council meeting, no Councilmembers spoke; Mayor Garcia let Councilwoman Pearce read a statement in which she apologized, said she took responsibility for what had happened and accepted the censure as an invitation to try to do better. The resulting Council vote was
In the 2016 election cycle, three candidates (Eric Gray, Joen Garnica, and Jeannine Pearce) entered the race to succeed outgoing 2nd dist. Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal. Pearce and Gray advanced to a June 2016 runoff. Lowenthal endorsed Pearce who also had support from organized labor and a number of self-described "progressive" policy advocacy groups. Her runoff opponent, Eric Gray, was supported by much of LB's establishment and business community. In a hard fought runoff, Pearce prevailed with 51.45% of the vote.
The recall effort gained support from hotel and business interests already at odds with Pearce on policy matters coupled with property owners distrustful of her, in part because of her visible political alliances, despite her 2016 election campaign-recited opposition to rent control.
Further as it develops on LBREPORT.com.
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