Jean Quan recall, Oakland, California (2012)
An effort to recall Jean Quan from her position as mayor of Oakland, California, in Alameda County was launched in October 2011. Efforts to recall Quan were abandoned in late June 2012. Quan was elected mayor in 2010. Three separate pro-recall groups were originally circulating two different recall petitions. One group suspended their efforts in March 2012, leaving two separate groups circulating two distinct petitions. Recall supporters circulating the first petition failed to meet a signature submission deadline of May 14th, 2012. The second group of recall supporters failed to collect sufficient signatures to meet their submission deadline of July 2nd, 2012.
The recall petitions against Quan said she "has willfully ignored the city's most pressing issue: public safety" and "is squandering an opportunity to shape the largest development project in Oakland's history - the Oakland Army Base." Recall supporters said Quan "has ignored the call of Oakland residents to significantly increase the number of police officers and instead supported a regressive $11 million parcel tax."
Quan received a vote of no confidence from the city council. City Attorney John Russo and police chief Anthony Batts both left their positions over conflicts with Quan.
Quan has said that "Oakland is on the move and we are making progress together," and "the last thing we need is a divisive and expensive recall election." At a press conference on May 9th, Quan said she was confident both recall efforts against her would fail.
Union leaders in Oakland opposed the recall effort against Quan. Josie Camacho of the Alameda Labor Council said the recall efforts are "a waste of resources and a waste of energy," and "the Labor Council is committed to fighting the recall efforts as much as we can."
Recall opponents formed a group called Stand With Oakland. The group's website said, "We oppose the recall of Mayor Jean Quan. We feel the recall is an attempt to divide Oakland even further, to pit neighborhoods against one another and to create instability in a time where Oakland is beginning to see a new era of progress."  (timed out)
Stand With Oakland coordinator Pam Drake said, "we feel very strongly that a recall would be unfair, divisive and incredibly expensive."
Path to the ballot
Gene Hazzard of the Oakland Black Caucus filed 71 signatures with the Oakland City Clerk on October 25th, 2011 along with a "Notice of Intent to Circulate a Recall Petition." On October 31st, 59 of the 71 initial signatures were verified by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, meeting the requirements to move forward with the recall. Hazzard's recall petition was certified on December 7th. Recall organizers now have 160 days within which to collect approximately 20,000 signatures to force a special recall election. The signatures needed to be collected by May 14th, 2012. Hazzard's group did not submit sufficient signatures by the deadline.
Three groups of recall organizers initially emerged. Hazzard's group was the first, while former mayoral candidate Greg Harland also filed his own recall petition against Quan. Harland's group was called the Committee to Recall Jean Quan Now. Harland believed he had a better chance of successfully executing the recall campaign. A third group, the Committee to Recall Jean Quan and Restore Oakland, whose members included former city council candidate Charlie Pine and Ken Pratt, decided to circulate Hazzard's recall petition. In March 2012, Pine announced that the Committee to Recall Jean Quan and Restore Oakland would be suspending recall efforts, saying, "the reality is that the law sets a rather high bar in terms of the hours that you have to put in to gather the signatures you need." Pratt said, "I’m not going to give up." Pine endorsed Harland's recall campaign.
Although it was initially legally unclear whether two different recall petitions for the same official could be circulated simultaneously, Oakland's city attorney said that two separate recall petitions for the same target may circulate at the same time. However, only the first recall campaign to gather the required number of signatures would have been allowed to move forward.
In January 2012, the city clerk found several errors in Harland's petition. He resubmitted the petition for inspection and approval. Harland's group hired political consultant Johnny Wang to assist with the recall effort. Harland's group announced that they planned to spend $30,000 on paid signature gatherers.
On January 24th, the Harland petition was approved for circulation. The submission deadline for the Harland petition was July 2nd, 2012.
In March 2012, Harland's group, the Committee to Recall Jean Quan Now, began hiring paid signature gatherers. Recall organizers paid $1 per signature collected. NRG Petition Management, based in Oakland and headed by Nicolas Guillermo, ran the signature gathering effort. Recall organizers stopped using paid signature gatherers in May 2012.
By early May 2012, the Committee to Recall Jean Quan Now announced that it had collected 7,000 signatures. The group also said it had failed to meet fundraising goals and was in $26,000 of debt. The Committee to Recall Jean Quan Now had a signature submission deadline of July 2nd, 2012, but they had a self-imposed submission goal of June 2012. Submitting signatures by June would force a November recall election, rather than aspecial election. Also in early May, Gene Hazzard, who was circulating a recall petition with a May 14th submission deadline, said his chances to meet the deadline "looked bleak."
In late June 2012, recall organizers announced that they had collected 17,000 signatures, less than the minimum requirement of 19,800, and had all but given up on the recall effort.
If a recall election had taken place, ranked-choice voting would have been used to select Quan's replacement.
City Councilman and former mayoral candidate Ignacio De La Fuente has said, "If the recall qualifies, I'm in."
Another formal mayoral candidate, Joe Tuman, said he would "definitely run" in the event of a recall election. Tuman is a San Francisco State political science professor and KPIX political analyst.
- Website of the City of Oakland
- Committee to Recall Quan Now
- Committee to Recall Jean Quan and Restore Oakland (timed out)
- Website of Mayor Jean Quan
- Stand with Oakland, Stop the Recall
- Mercury News, "Jean Quan recall drive opened by Oakland group," October 25, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Bid to recall Oakland Mayor Jean Quan fizzles," June 28, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Jean Quan recall drive opened by Oakland group," October 25, 2011
- Oakland Local, "Confused about the recall process for Oakland? Read our explainer," February 1, 2012
- San Francisco Examiner, "Mayor Jean Quan fights recall effort, says Oakland is 'making progress'," November 1, 2011
- Associated Press, "Oakland mayor under fire over Occupy protests'," November 2, 2011
- MercuryNews.com ,"Tammerlin Drummond: Occupy protests a political minefield," November 20, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland voters reject $60 million parcel tax," November 16, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle ,"Oakland Mayor Jean Quan: Recall efforts will fail," May 10, 2012
- Bay Citizen ,"Union Leaders Oppose Quan Recall," December 19, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland Mayor Jean Quan camp gears up," March 18, 2012
- East Bay Express, "Thursday Must Read: Second Quan Recall Petition Surfaces; Middle Class No Longer in the Majority," December 8, 2011
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Signature gathering can begin on Jean Quan recall," December 8, 2011
- Mercury News, "2 recall campaigns for Oakland mayor OK'd," December 20, 2011 (dead link)
- Oakland Tribune, "Quan gets little backing from council," January 9, 2012
- Oakland Tribune, "Citywise: Recall groups hire signature gatherers in Oakland," March 2, 2012
- Oakland Tribune, "Oakland Mayor Jean Quan recall effort appearing to sputter," May 1, 2012
- East Bay Express, "Term-Limits Measure Could Give Jane Brunner an Unfair Advantage," May 2, 2012
- San Francisco Chronicle, "De La Fuente says he'd run in recall against Quan," March 7, 2012