James Johnson recall, Long Beach, California (2011)
Johnson represents Long Beach's 7th District. He is a graduate of Harvard who went on to earn a law degree from UC Berkeley's School of Law. Johnson has served as the head of the Long Beach Democratic Club, helping to obtain the club's endorsement of 2008's Measure I, and as the Assistant City Auditor under City Auditor Laura Doud. He was first elected to the 7th District seat in June 2010, defeating two-term incumbent Tonia Reyes Uranga.
Reasons for recall
The recall effort was launched by a group called the "Recall James Johnson Committee." Kate Braid was a contact for the group. On its Notice of Intent to Recall, the group said Johnson should be recalled because of "Neglected Duties; Incompetent Performance; and Misuse of his Office."
Recall organizers charged that Johnson has failed to communicate with constituents, improperly furthered his political agenda through redistricting, endangered constituents by voting to cut the public safety budget, and failing to protect resident health and safety concerns regarding the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach (710) Freeway and rail yards in West Long Beach.
Matt Kowal was a spokesman for the recall effort. Kowal announced his campaign for city council in Long Beach's 8th District, but Johnson submitted a redistricting proposal that placed Kowal's residence in the 7th District.
Democratic Party response
The Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted to oppose Johnson's recall. Eric Bauman, chair of the party, said: "Long Beach City Councilmember James Johnson has been fighting for Long Beach residents since day one, tackling issues ranging from jobs to public safety. He has violated no laws nor committed any egregious wrongs. Recall is not the right way to settle political scores in our democracy. The Democratic Party strongly urges the voters of Long Beach City Council District 7 to oppose the recall of Councilmember James Johnson and decline to sign the recall petition."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in California
Recall organizers needed to collect the signatures of 20% of the number of registered voters in Long Beach's 7th District in order to force a recall election. There are 26,206 voters in the 7th District, meaning the recall proponents would have needed to collect 5,242 signatures.
The signature submission deadline was February 20, 2012.
In late December 2011, the Committee to Recall James Johnson suspended their signature-gathering efforts. They cited financing problems as the reason for suspending the recall effort.
- Long Beach Report, "Action To Recall Councilman James Johnson Is Launched; Group Says It Will Serve Him With Papers Stating Its Intent To Circulate Recall Petition," September 13, 2011
- Long Beach Post, "UPDATE: Councilmember James Johnson Responds to End of Recall Effort," December 26, 2011
- Contra Costa Times, "Johnson recall may be difficult, costly," September 19, 2011
- Press Telegram, "LB Councilman Johnson recall petition certified," October 21, 2011