Joe Gunter recall, Salinas, California (2013)

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An effort to recall Joe Gunter from his position as the mayor of Salinas, California, was launched in March 2013. Supporters of the recall circulated petitions in order to qualify the recall question for the ballot, however the recall effort did not go to a vote.[1]


Juvenal Ibarra was the leader of the recall effort. The recall committee was made up of supporters of city council member Jose Castañeda. One of the reasons cited for the recall effort was Gunter's refusal to appoint Castañeda to any council or regional committees or commissions. Gunter said he would not name Castañeda to any of the bodies unless he first stepped down from his seat on the Alisal Union School Board. Many legal observers believed Castañeda held the school board seat in violation of state law.[2]

A separate recall effort to remove Castañeda from his seat on the city council was initiated.

Petition language

The petition language stated[1]:

As mayor, you engaged in divisive politics, voter intimidation, disregarded the rule of law, wasted precious tax dollars to advance your political agenda and interests of an egoistic group, failed to address critical issues impacting our daily lives such as crime, violence, jobs, housing, and business opportunities You wasted thousands of dollars to deny District 1 residents their right to equal representation and participation in city governance. Your stubbornness to continue violating Mr. Castaneda's right to fully participate in such government affairs as city commissions has put the residents of District 1 at peril.

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in California

Recall supporters were required to gather approximately 7,600 signatures from registered voters in the city to force a recall election.[2] The deadline for signature submission was October 20, 2013. According to city staff, a recall election could cost the city half a million dollars.[1]

The original recall petition was started in March 2013. That petition was rejected because several of the names on the form did not match current voter registration rolls. City Clerk Patty Barajas also rejected the second recall petition, writing, "Your Petition for Recall, however, does not conform to the applicable requirements of the California Elections Code as to form and wording and is hereby rejected. As a reminder, no signatures may be obtained on the Petition for Recall (you have) submitted." On May 13, the third recall petition was approved for circulation.[2][1]

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