Dolores Lucero recall, Shasta Lake, California (2012)
Recall supporters alleged that Lucero is rude to constituents and city staff members, unprepared for meetings, and uninformed of city policies and procedures.
During the recall campaign, Lucero walked door to door, distributing a letter explaining why she believed she was the target of a recall. Lucero said she came under attack because she has opposed inflated salaries of city employees, questioned the city's policy of approving expense reports, and investigated the city's expenditure files.
Lucero said City Manager Carole Martin and the City Council have been breaking the law by allowing two council members to approve city expenses behind closed doors rather than requiring the entire council to vote. Lucero also believes Martin's compensation, which was $173,224 in 2010, is excessive.
In a letter to the Record Searchlight, Lucero wrote: "During my two-year tenure on the Shasta Lake City Council, I've witnessed a number of policies and procedures in violation of California law. I've discovered wasteful spending of taxpayer money and tried to correct it. I refuse to be intimidated and stop my investigation into past and present fraud, waste and abuse. I will continue my efforts toward government transparency and accountability to the people of the city of Shasta Lake."
Recall supporter Louis Wacker, in another letter to the Record Searchlight, said "I have never experienced anything as disruptive and rude as Shasta Lake City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero. She has come right out and called our city lawyer a liar. She voted against funding the Woman's Refuge when it serves women from our area. She voted against possible additional funding for our library and against every routine measure that is necessary to keep our city running."
On November 1, the city council received a letter from Shasta County public defender Tim Pappas. Pappas alleged that the city is violating the Brown Act and the state Government Code. The letter said that the city gave too much authority to the city’s Finance Committee, which is composed of the mayor and vice mayor, to approve the city’s weekly checks. The letter also said that the city is violating government codes 36814 and 40801 by failing to keep minutes of Finance Committee meetings. City Manager Carol Martin and City Attorney John Kenny both said they believe the city is complying with the law.
Lucero said that Pappas' letter is proof of the city's misdeeds and that the effort to recall her is retaliation for her investigations into city financial records.
Path to the ballot
At the September 19th City Council meeting, Lucero was given the notice of intention to circulate a recall petition. 20 voters in the City of Shasta Lake had signed the notice.
Recall proponents had 60 days to collect 1,222 signatures, representing 25 percent of the city's registered voters.
On November 8th, 2011, recall supporters reported that they had gathered 949 signatures. They needed to collect 1,222 signatures by December 3rd to force a recall election.
On December 1, recall organizers submitted 1,657 signatures to the City Clerk. The Shasta County Elections Office had 30 days to determine if at least 1,222 of the signatures were valid. If enough signatures were deemed valid, the city council would have 14 days to call for a recall election, which would take place anywhere from 88 to 125 days after the election is called for.
It was determined that 1,500 signatures are valid, which means a recall election will be held. The city council made plans to certify the petitions at the January 3rd City Council meeting, and to schedule the recall election at either the January 3rd or January 17th meeting.
At the January 3rd, 2012 City Council meeting, the date of the recall election was set for April 10th, 2012. Lucero has threatened legal action to stop the recall election from taking place.
Three people announced their candidacy for Lucero's position. Lucero's challengers included Richard Kern, Pamelyn Morgan and Rose Smith.
Lucero attempted to stop the recall election, which was projected to cost the city an estimated $40,000, from taking place. She said, "I will stop them from moving forward with this recall. I don't understand the citizens right now, and I hope they realize I'm doing what's best for them."
On February 17th, Lucero filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of Shasta County, California against the city of Shasta Lake, the Shasta Lake City Council, City Clerk Toni Coates, Shasta County and Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen. Lucero's lawsuit claims that recall petitioners committed fraud.
At the March 6th city council meeting, Lucero called for fellow city council members Rob Lindsay and Larry Farr to resign. Lucero says some of the signatures on the recall petition against her were obtained illegally.
On March 13th, Shasta County Superior Court judge Monica Marlow ruled that the recall election can proceed as scheduled. Marlow denied Lucero's requests for a temporary restraining order and an injunction to stop the election from taking place.
Electric rate referendum
Lucero spearheaded a referendum seeking to overturn the city's recent electric rate hike. The city is slated to see a 28% electric rate hike over the next three years. Lucero's deadline to submit 320 signatures was March 21st. Lucero submitted 378 signatures on the submission deadline. Only 228 signatures were deemed to be valid, so no electric rate referendum took place.
On March 29th, Lucero turned herself in after an arrest warrant was issued for her. Lucero was charged with two felony counts alleging she gave false declarations and evidence to a judge and one misdemeanor count of filing a false police report. She is accused of submitting documents and police reports with fabricated claims of voter fraud. It is alleged that Lucero convinced people to sign declarations that they hadn't read thoroughly that contained false information. A court appearance has been set for May 7th.
- Pam Morgan
- Don Spurgeon
- Dean Goekler, former city councilman
- Adrian Rogers, chief of the Shasta Lake Fire Protection District
- Lori Chapman-Sifers, chair of the recall committee
- Louis Wacker
- Chris Kobe, president of the Shasta Lake Chamber of Commerce
- Kay Kobe
- Bill Head, former city councilman
Lucero was recalled in an election on April 10, 2012. She was replaced on the city council by Pam Morgan.
- Votes to replace Dolores Lucero with Pam Morgan: 572
- Votes to replace Dolores Lucero with Richard Kern: 479
- Votes to replace Dolores Lucero with Rose Smith: 521
- Shasta County, California ballot measures
- Political recall efforts, 2012
- Recall campaigns in California
- The Record Searchlight, "Lucero recall election date scheduled for April 10," January 3, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Councilwoman Lucero ousted in recall vote; Morgan to serve as replacement," April 11, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Shasta Lake Councilwoman Dolores Lucero kicks off her own door-to-door campaign," October 10, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Good 'ol boys are the force behind recall," October 8, 2011
- The Record Searlight, "Louis Wacker: Voice of experience says Lucero must go ," October 2, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Shasta Lake council uproar: Letter blasts city’s Finance Committee," November 12, 2011
- KRCR, "Shasta Lake Residents Ask Councilmember To Step Down," September 21, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Tension fills air in Shasta Lake; Lucero supporters, recall organizers feud," November 8, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Lucero recall petition contains 1,657 signatures; committee needs 1,222 valid names," December 1, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Lucero recall qualifies for ballot," December 22, 2011
- The Record Searchlight, "Three line up for seat if Lucero is recalled; if necessary, winner would finish her term," January 28, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Special election to cost Shasta Lake about $40K; Lucero still committed to stopping recall," January 14, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Lucero files lawsuit, claims fraud; councilwoman says recall attempt is illegal," February 21, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Shasta Lake City Councilwoman Dolores Lucero calls on pair to resign," March 6, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Judge strikes down Lucero recall challenge," March 13, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Confusion over electric, recall petitions in Shasta Lake," March 21, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Lucero meets signature goal for referendum; rate hike could go to voters," March 22, 2012
- The Record Searchlight, "Dolores Lucero turns herself in; Shasta Lake councilwoman faces two felony charges," March 29, 2012