Sherri Lane, Mike Touhey, Shelley Sanderson, and Steve Herfert recall, West Covina, California (2012)
An effort to recall Sherri Lane, Mike Touhey, Shelley Sanderson, and Steve Herfert from their positions on the city council of West Covina, California, in Los Angeles County was launched in January 2012. Lane resigned in February 2012. Herfert was added to the list of recall targets in March 2012. The recall effort against Touhey, Sanderson, and Herfert was abandoned in July 2012 after recall organizers failed to submit sufficient signatures.
Reasons for recall
Carolyn Arndt of the West Covina Improvement Association was a leader of the recall effort. Commenting on West Covina's $1.9 million deficit, Arndt said, "Basically what this recall is all about is they, for a number of years, have been spending more money than they take in and we have an enormous debt...A succession of poor financial decisions rendered the city so insolvent that the city sold a precious portion of the civic center." On January 10th, the city council approved the construction of a $13 million, 55,680-square-foot, four-story medical office building to be built on the library's parking lot. The project, which includes the sale of public land, will displace more than 140 trees. The city is projecting a $8.6 million deficit next fiscal year.
Arndt took out recall papers for Herfert in March 2012. Herfert called the accusations that he contributed to the city's financial insolvency "a pack of lies" and he said the recall effort is "the biggest fraud being perpetrated on the residents in the history of the city."
Recall opponents argued that a recall would endanger public safety. Some recall supporters supported contracting with the county for emergency services. Recall supporter Kenny Zielomski says, "I don't know what (the recall) has to do with the police and fire. We're not trying to recall them." Recall supporters said the real issues are abuse of public funds and financial mismanagement. Recall supporters cited the city's depleting general funds, an evergreen contract with Athens trash services, backroom deals with business owners and an inability to solve the city's budgetary problems with long-term solutions as motivations for the recall effort.
Path to the ballot
Recall organizers had 120 days to collect signatures from 20% of the city's 49,505 registered voters, or approximately 9,900 signatures. The deadline for signature submission was July 26. On the July 26 deadline, recall organizers announced that they were not submitting signatures because they were 1,200 signatures short per council member.
- Recall campaigns in California
- City council recalls
- Laws governing recall in California
- Los Angeles County
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Voters launch recall campaign against West Covina council members", January 19, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "West Covina Councilwoman Sherri Lane abruptly resigns", February 22, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "West Covina residents launch recall campaign against Herfert", March 22, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "West Covina recall group fails in efforts to gather signatures", July 26, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Public safety comes to forefront of West Covina recall movement", April 22, 2012
- San Gabriel Valley Tribune, "Recall proponents canvass West Covina neighborhoods to gather signatures", May 13, 2012