San Jacinto City Council recall, California, 2010
City Council members Jimmie Dale Stubblefield, Jr., John Mansperger, James Potts and Jim Ayres were targeted in the recall effort. The four politicians were indicted in November 2009 in a corruption probe launched by Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco. The allegations in the indictment are that they laundered "tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money as well as tax fraud, bribery, perjury and filing false government documents."
The terms of Dale Stubblefield and John Mansperger would have ended in December 2010 with a routine election to fill those seats taking place on November 2, 2010. Stubblefield and Mansperger did not file nominating papers to run for another term in office in that routine November election. Since they were recalled, they have to leave office about one month short of when their current terms would have expired.
The recall effort began in December 2009. Circulation of petitions to collect signatures to force the recall commenced in February 2010. Recall organizers submitted their signatures to election officials on June 1, 2010. Election officials announced on July 14 that enough of the signatures were valid on each set of petitions to force recall votes on each of the four targeted politicians.
The group organizing the recall effort was called SCRAM, which stands for "San Jacinto Corruption Recall Active Movement."
A billboard was erected in San Jacinto in April that included line drawings of Stubblefield, Mansperger, Potts and Ayres and the number of felonies of which each is accused.
The committee seeking the recall was called the San Jacinto Corruption Recall Active Movement (S.C.R.A.M.).
S.C.R.A.M. raised more than $45,000. Donors to the committee included:
- Larry Minor of Hemet Land Management: $20,000
- Todd and Mike Foutz, who work at Hemet Land Management: $10,000 each
- Pastime Lake Dairy: $5,000
- Agri-Empire Investments: $1,600
Pleas for resignation
In the public comments part of the San Jacinto City Council meeting of December 10, 2009, several people urged the indicted city council members to resign or face recall.
- Attorney Brian Hildreth, who represents a pro-recall group, asked for their resignations “allow this city to continue without a dark cloud over it.” He then handed the indicted city council members an official notice of the intent to recall.
- Robert Richie, a former member of the city council, criticized the recall targets but said he thought they are "too arrogant" to resign.
- Fred Rodriguez, a San Jacinto police officer, said, "Your political careers are over."
Mark Bartel and Michael Fred Allen filed to run for the seat that became vacant with the recall of Jim Ayres. Bartel is a dairyman and Allen is a teacher. Bartel won the seat.
Retired professional driver James Pangrazzi was a candidate to replace Jim Potts, as was Andrew Kotyuk. Kotyuk won the seat on November 2.
The terms of Dale Stubblefield and John Mansperger expired in December 2010 and in the normal course of events, unrelated to the recall campaign, an election to fill those seats took place on November 2. No one filed to replace Stubblefield and Mansperger in the event of a recall but nearly a dozen candidates filed to run for the two seats in the routine November election. Scott Miller and Alonso Ledezma were the two top vote-getters in that election.
In addition to the four members of the San Jacinto City Council who were indicted, five others were named in the original indictment. They were:
- Nancy Ayres, wife of indicted city council member Jim Ayres. Nancy is a member of the Board of Trustees of the San Jacinto Unified School District.
- Steven Russell Holgat
- Scott Douglas Shaull
- Byron Jerry Ellison
- Robert Edward Osborne.
They cumulatively were charged with 55 felonies and 99 misdemeanors. They all pled not guilty.
The charges have to do with allegations that the defendants "had been engaged in a conspiracy to launder campaign funds into campaign committees."
The alleged conspiracy, prosecutors said, was entered into in order to avoid the disclosures and campaign limits mandated by the California Fair Political Practices Act and California Proposition 34 (2000).
In mid-December, indictments of six additional people were added to the list of those being charged with felonies. Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco said, "“Money laundering can only occur when people agree to launder money through their personal accounts. Without these six defendants, the crimes charged in this case would not have occurred.”
Recall target responses
Jim Ayres, John Mansperger and James Potts filed responses on December 30 to the issues raised by those running the recall effort.
Path to the ballot
Recall organizers submitted signatures in each of the four recall campaigns to election authorities on June 1, 2010. Recall organizers submitted, for each recall target, about double the required number of 2,815 signatures.
Number of submitted signatures:
- Signatures to recall Jim Ayres: 4,874
- Signatures to recall John Mansperger: 4,832
- Signatures to recall Jim Potts: 4,884
- Signatures to recall Dale Stubblefield: 4,909
To qualify a recall question for the ballot, signatures from 20% of San Jacinto's registered voters were required. That came to 2,815 valid signatures for each recall target. The signatures had to be collected within 120 days of the time that election officials approved the form of the recall petition.
The petition forms were approved by election authorities on February 1, which gave recall supporters until June 1 to collect the required signatures.
Recall organizers told the press that they had volunteers going door-to-door in neighborhoods to collect signatures, and in addition, they set up a signature collection table outside the Wal- Mart Supercenter on San Jacinto Avenue.
Due to a missing date in the first set of recall papers filed on the four members of the city council, recall backers served a new, corrected, set of recall papers on the four targets in late December.
In late July 2010, City Clerk Rick Miller sent a letter to the Riverside County District Attorney's office, asking the DA to review "alarming irregularities" discovered on some of the petitions that had been submitted.
- Political recall efforts
- Political recall efforts, 2010
- Riverside County, California ballot measures
- Recall campaigns in California
- Website of the City of San Jacinto
- SCRAM Recall Committee, official website
- Judgment day approaches for recall targets
- Press Enterprise, "Four San Jacinto councilmen to face recall election," July 14, 2010
- Press Enterprise, "Groups calls itself SCRAM and wants council members out," December 3, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "Campaign-finance laws snared San Jacinto defendants," December 20, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "San Jacinto council sets recall election for Nov. 2," August 6, 2010
- Press Enterprise, "Signature gathering to start in San Jacinto recall," February 2, 2010
- The Valley Chronicle, "Recall supporters turn in signatures," June 4, 2010
- The Valley Chronicle, "Billboard blasts council members," April 9, 2010
- Valley Chronicle, "S.C.R.A.M. details latest round of contributions in recall effort," May 14, 2010
- Southwest Riverside News Network, "Three indicted San Jacinto councilmen urged to resign; recall notice given," December 10, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "Four candidates file in San Jacinto recall election," August 20, 2010
- Follow the Money, Contributions to Jim Ayres 2006
- Los Angeles Times, "Six more indicted in growing Riverside County corruption scandal," December 15, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "Recall backers file petitions with the city Tuesday seeking recall of four San Jacinto councilmen," June 2, 2010
- Press Enterprise, "3,000 signatures needed for San Jacinto recall effort," December 11, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "More sites are available this weekend where registered voters may sign San Jacinto recall petitions," March 18, 2010
- Press Enterprise, "Signature drive begins in San Jacinto," February 9, 2010
- Press Enterprise, "City Council recall push will start over," December 21, 2009
- Press Enterprise, "San Jacinto city clerk asks for district attorney's review of recall petition irregularities," July 30, 2010