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Jim Righeimer recall, Costa Mesa, California (2013)

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An effort to recall Jim Righeimer from his position as mayor of Costa Mesa, California was launched in October 2012.[1][2] The recall effort was abandoned in May 2013 when recall organizers failed to submit signatures on the recall petition.[3][4]


Chris McEvoy, a schoolteacher who ran unsuccessfully for the city council in 2008 and 2010, led the recall effort. The catalyst for recall was Righeimer's July 2012 vote in favor of a $4.4 million traffic mitigation agreement between the city and Newport Banning Ranch LLC, which is attempting to develop a nearly 400-acre parcel in West Newport. The agreement, which is projected to increase traffic in parts of Costa Mesa, has not been enacted, nor does it have any legal validity. McEvoy said, "This is a very important decision that demonstrates that [Righeimer] is not standing up for the residents." Righeimer called the recall effort a "stunt" that's "just political, and people can figure it out for what it is."[1][5]

Petition language

The notice of intention to circulate recall petitions read:[6]

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To the Honorable James Righeimer: Pursuant to Section 11020 of the California Elections Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of the City of Costa Mesa, in the State of California, hereby give notice that we are the proponents of a recall petition and that we intend to seek your recall and removal from the office of Council Member in the City of Costa Mesa, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds for the recall are as follows:

On July 17th, 2012 James Righeimer voted in support of Consent Calendar Item #5, which is a traffic mitigation agreement with Banning Ranch LLC. Righeimer was not the only Councilmember to vote in support of this however he is the only one that can be recalled. This can also be considered a symbolic recall of the three other supporting Councilmembers: Bever, Monahan and Mensigner.

The reason for this recall is Righeimer’s acceptance of this binding mitigation agreement, which specifically takes away the rights of the City to make future objections with regard to traffic impacts from the potential Banning Ranch Development.

The negative impacts to the residents include, but are not limited to:

  • Created cut through traffic
  • Increased traffic of at least 15,000 car trips a day
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Loss of quiet streets
  • No City help in unforeseen issues
  • Public Safety
  • Use of public funds to keep up roads impacted by this Newport Beach project
  • Potential eminent domain
  • No amount of mitigating money will restore lost quality of life

In closing this recall is being brought forward to remove Councilmember Righeimer who values development projects over the quality of life of Costa Mesa’s residents.[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in California

The recall effort was announced on October 16, and the recall petitions were certified for circulation in December 2012.[8] Recall supporters had 160 days to gather over 9,000 signatures, representing 15% of Costa Mesa's registered voters.[1][9] The deadline to submit signatures was May 15, 2013.[5] Recall supporters failed to submit sufficient signatures by the deadline, and the recall effort came to an end.[3]

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