Multiple recall efforts are legal, city attorney says

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goldsmithSAN DIEGO — City Attorney Jan Goldsmith issued a memorandum Thursday seeking to clarify the legal issues surrounding two separate efforts to recall Mayor Bob Filner.

According to a legal analysis by Deputy City Attorney Sharon Spivak, both recall drives can simultaneously circulate petitions to qualify a recall for the ballot. Once the City Clerk certifies  a recall petition, the City Council must call a special election. If voters fail to recall the mayor in that election, another recall petition against the mayor cannot be filed for at least six months.


Spivak also said that an unsuccessful recall petition drive will not prevent another group from filing a successful recall petition.

“It is the filing of a successful recall petition — i.e., one that results in a recall election — that triggers the prohibition against filing another petition for six month,” Spivak wrote.

The memo sent to city officials and the media cleared up uncertainty created by separate recall efforts that target Mayor Bob Filner. The first was started by Stampp Corbin, the publisher of LGBT Weekly, and the second launched by land use consultant Michael Pallamary.

Corbin’s effort has been beset by accusations that he started his recall effort to prevent others from being successful, a charge he denies. Corbin and Pallamary reportedly met Wednesday and were planning to make a statement Friday.

Corbin’s and Pallamary’s recall efforts still face legal hurdles because a component of the state’s recall law was struck down by a federal judge in 2003, and the city of San Diego’s code has not been updated since then.

The offending San Diego section nullifies selections of replacement candidates when a voter has not answered the question of whether the official should be recalled.

Numerous experts said San Diego’s recall rules would not withstand legal challenge.


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