Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

By Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Jessie Lopez’s anti-recall campaign

Santa Ana, CA — Last night, the Santa Ana City Council held a special session to address the corrupt, illegal recall election. 

The Orange County Registrar of Voters last week released a letter to city officials, which stated that both recall petitioners and the County Registrar mistakenly used an outdated map when proponents gathered signatures and county officials reviewed and certified them. 

According to the County Registrar, the recall petition should have been circulated to registered voters within the boundaries of Councilmember Jessie Lopez’s electoral ward that existed in 2020, the year she was elected and before her ward boundaries were redrawn due to redistricting. 

Instead, signatures gathered by special interest recall proponents were based on the post-redistricting boundaries, and fell 230 signatures short of the necessary 5,432 threshold for a recall to appear on the ballot. 

Further, more than 1,000 voters in the district – the overwhelming majority of whom are Latino – never received a ballot, disenfranchising a historically underrepresented voter bloc.

Three members of the council, each of whom has collectively benefited from more than $391,821.78 in campaign expenditures from the same special interests who are funding the recall, Mayor Valerie Amezcua, Councilmember Phil Bacerra, and David Penaloza, voted to keep the recall election on November’s ballot. 

Three members of the council, Councilmembers Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Thai Viet Phan, and Benjamin Vasquez, voted to support a motion that would rescind the certificate of sufficiency and cancel the recall election. Each motion failed in a 3-3 tie, and the city was unable to take any action on the recall – despite the recommendations by legal advocates to rescind the certification. 

Mayor Pro Tem Jessie Lopez stated:

“I’m disappointed but unsurprised that my special interest-funded council colleagues failed to take any action to protect taxpayer dollars and uphold democracy. Their actions show they would rather cater to the special interests that line their campaign pockets instead of protecting our residents from voter suppression and disenfranchisement. They are knowingly denying the right to vote to thousands of registered voters in Ward 3.

These are the facts — more than $600,000 of taxpayer dollars were wasted, the special interest-funded proponents fell short of 230 signatures, and over 1,000 voters were never mailed a ballot. From the beginning, this recall was built on a bed of lies, and now it’s verging on illegal. The failure of my colleagues to address voter suppression and disenfranchisement when presented with these facts is shameful and cannot be tolerated by our community.

I’m grateful to each and every constituent,  including disenfranchised voters, who spoke out and made their voices heard during the meeting last night to denounce this illegitimate and corrupt recall. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect voters’ rights.  Above all else, I will always take action to serve the people of Santa Ana and put them first, not special interests.”

The letter released by the Orange County Registrar of Voters can be found here.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

6 thoughts on “Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Jessie Lopez reacts to the City Council’s decision to allow her recall to continue”
  1. According to the Santa Ana Charter Section 702 the City Clerk is the election official. The certificate of whether the petition qualified is a City Clerk responsibility based on Election Code 11226 and 11227. This should have never been a decision for the City Council to take. According to 11226 if the City Clerk gets information that the petition is insufficient: “If the certificate shows that the petition is insufficient, no action shall be taken on it, but the petition shall remain on file”. The letter from the Registrar of Voters told them the petition was insufficient….again why was this a City Council decision?

  2. They should let the recall play out now that the ballots have been sent out. If the signature gatherers finished with such a slim margin that this map issue can decide it then I don’t think there is enough interest to recall the councilwomen. I think they heard a lot of ‘no’s’. They came to our house at least 3 times asking us to sign the petition so I don’t think people were banging down their door to sign it. When this goes to court the margin of win or loss will matter so everyone should send in their ballots if they want their opinion to be counted.

    1. The law is black and white on this issue, it didn’t qualify. Proponents can begin a new petition if they want; if the recall election continues voters who are eligible to vote for the election and cannot will never have had the opportunity to vote for it. That is wrong, the voters have rights.

      1. The signature gatherers operated on good faith that they were doing it correctly. Telling them they have to start over from scratch isn’t fair to them. I think the best solution would have been to send a ballot to the voters on each map and then hold them until a judge decides which votes to count. This is kind of a strange law that says people she no longer represents are able to vote for her. I can see abuses coming from that as well.

        1. Think of the paid signature gatherers instead of the voters who have to live with the consequence of the election? Okay!

  3. I think she is making a mistake campaigning as a victim. She should show strength by reminding us of what she has accomplished as a councilwomen. Being a victim is not an accomplishment.

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