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Action To Recall Councilman James Johnson Is Launched; Group Says It Will Serve Him With Papers Stating Its Intent To Circulate Recall Petition

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(Sept. 13, 2011) -- Launching a process guaranteed by the California constitution, a "Recall James Johnson Committee" issued a release at late afternoon today (Sept. 13) stating it will be filing and serving 7th district Councilman James Johnson with a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Recall Petition papers.

In a media advisory, the group announced that on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 14) it "will also present the communityís charges on why Long Beach Councilman James Johnson must be removed from office. Those charges include: Neglected Duties; Incompetent Performance; and Misuse of his Office."

The group's release states that "community leaders from across the city of Long Beach are coming together to say they are tired of politics as usual, backroom deals and misrepresentation by elected officials. They are supporting the Recall James Johnson Committee as they challenge 7th District James Johnsonís ability to manipulate his message to benefit from his intentions rather than act for the greater good of District 7."

The group has had a website online for several weeks at RecallJohnson.com but hadn't followed through with actions...until now. It lists Kate Braid (an outspoken opponent of Councilman Johnson's redistricting plans) as a contact. Veteran Los Cerritos area community advocate Mike Kowal -- who'd filed papers to seek the 8th Council district in 2012 but was redistricted into the 7th district in Councilman Johnson's final redistricting plan -- has also been audibly supportive of the recall.

LBReport.com has learned that among those signing the papers launching the recall is longtime community advocate John Deats. Mr. Deats told LBReport.com that "the last straw for me was Johnson's vote to cut police and fire levels."

Others in the recall effort haven't been publicly identified at this point.

In figures provided by the City Clerk's office in May, 2011 (for all Council offices), the 7th district was then-comprised of 26,322 registered voters [major caveat: the number may be different under newly redistricted Council line].

The recall proponents must collect and submit valid signatures from 20% of the district's registered voters within 120 days to trigger a recall special election...meaning roughly 5,200+ valid signatures will likely be required to trigger a 7th district recall special election.

In that special election, voters are asked only two questions: (1) Shall James Johnson be recalled and (2) if recalled, who (from among any number of candidates who may seek his office) will replace him? If 50%+1 of voters in a recall election vote to recall him, Councilman Johnson is immediately removed from office and the candidate with the highest number of votes takes office.

In a historical irony, Mr.Johnson once served in the policy division of CA Governor Gray Davis...who was recalled.

A Harvard graduate who attended UC Berkeley's School of Law, Mr. Johnson practiced law at a major law firm before arriving at Long Beach City Hall under then-newly elected Mayor Bob Foster. While budgeted in the City Clerk's office, Mr. Johnson was officed on the 14th floor (alongside the Mayor and Councilmembers) where he helped draft the Charter Amendment (approved by voters in spring 2007) that strengthened the Mayor's veto and allowed the Mayor and 2/3 of the Council to remove appointed Commissioners for any reason.

Mr. Johnson headed the Long Beach Democratic Club for a time,,,and after a period as Asssitant City Auditor (chosen by City Auditor Laura Doud), Mr. Johnson sought the 7th district Council seat and outpolled two-term incumbent Tonia Reyes Uranga in a June 2010 runoff.


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