Bill Fulton recall, Ventura, California (2010)
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Recall organizers had until October 12 to collect 9,536 signatures to force a recall election.
Maili Halme Brocke was one of the leaders of the recall effort. One motivation for the recall was the fact that the H.P. Wright Library, one of Ventura's three libraries, was closed and its books consolidated with the E.P. Foster Library. Another motivation was the city's decision to install parking meters downtown.
Brocke told a local newspaper in June that she was withdrawing her energy and time from the recall effort in order to focus on her family and business. She said that having started the recall, she would leave it up to others to carry it forward. The identifies of who those others might be was not clarified.
A recall notice served on Mayor Fulton in March said, "The people of the city of San Buenaventura are dissatisfied with your representation. Your unethical decisions have jeopardized the public interest. Your actions on such issues as the illegal 911 fee and the wrongful closure of Wright Library, along with many others, clearly demonstrate that you are failing to respond to citizens’ needs and wishes, and are refusing to work on behalf of the community’s best interests."
Fulton responded with the comment, "I think this is a time of tough choices. We all have to work together to move forward to balance the budget and do what’s best for the community."
The Ventura County Star's editorial board editorialized against the recall effort on March 5, saying, "Voters can express their displeasure with Mr. Fulton by ousting him in 2011, when he’s up for re-election. A recall may be morally satisfying, but its accompanying divisiveness and high price tag, especially when Ventura is struggling financially, make it an impractical approach."
Path to the ballot
From the time that election officials approve a recall petition for circulation, supporters of a recall have 160 days to collect signatures of 15% of Ventura's registered voters. Since Ventura has about 63,700 registered voters, that means recall supporters would have needed to collect about 9,500 valid signatures.
Based on when election officials certified the petition for circulation, recall organizers had until October 12 to collect the 9,536 signatures needed to force a recall.
Recall papers submitted to the city clerk in March were found to be missing some required language. As a result, recall organizers had to re-word and re-submit the papers before they could legally serve Mayor Fulton with an official recall notice, as is required under California law.
A second set of recall papers was also found to be defective, forcing recall organizers to go back to the drawing board in their ongoing effort to put together a set of legally proper recall papers. Recall organizer Maili Brocke said she planned to consult with an attorney before submitting a third set of recall papers.
A third set of papers also had difficulties, but recall organizers on the fourth try submitted correctly worded papers and were given the go-ahead.
Cost of recall
Had a space recall election taken place, it would have cost the city about $250,000.
- Ventura County Star, "Group of Ventura residents targets mayor for recall," March 4, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Ventura mayor recall effort misses deadline," June 23, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Ventura group gets OK to try to recall mayor," May 6, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Still work left to do on recall of mayor," March 19, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Editorial: Abandon the recall effort," March 5, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Ventura mayor recall effort moves forward," April 15, 2010
- Ventura County Star, "Paperwork to launch recall of Ventura mayor again ruled defective," March 24, 2010