The January 15 deadline for the recall petitions has passed, and the recall has officially failed for lack of support.
The efforts to hold a special election to remove Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee and Council member Alex Fisch from office required that a petition get 20% of the registered voters in Culver City to agree; that’s 5, 560 names signed and certified. The word from the city was that “the proponents of the recall petitions were unable to achieve the number of signatures …therefore no further action will be taken.”
Mayor Lee noted that he was “Very appreciative of supporters who have expressed their opposition to this recall.”
Council member Fisch stated “The recall’s fizzle reaffirms that Culver City residents want to compare positive visions of the future that addresses the realities of the here and now, and they know that government is an important part of solving problems.”
After months of door to door canvassing, ‘tabling’ the petition at local parks and grocery stores and widespread distribution of lawn signs and flyers, it can’t be said the petition failed for lack of effort. Mark Salkin, the president of the recall organization, in a signed letter to Culver City Crossroads published on Jan. 11, wrote “Our core team is small, and our budgets are not big … The only outside help we have paid for is to get flyers distributed to every doorstep and make every resident aware of what’s happening to our town.”
The support simply wasn’t there. With this level of voter contact, the conclusion is that most residents simply disagreed. The popular support enjoyed by the council – as well as the lack of support for the recall process – doomed the efforts of the vocal minority. Culver City Crossroads has reached out to Salkin for comment, but has not received a response.
Fisch also added, “I’m glad Culver City can move on, and I’m grateful for all the support that people have provided.”
Lee posted humorously online “Back to our regularly scheduled program.”
Updates on requested information will be posted as received.
From the city’s press release “On January 17, 2022, the recall petition proponents informed the City Clerk’s Office via email that they did not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The proponents did not provide the City Clerk with the number of signatures they had collected. The process for these two recall petitions has now ended.”
I don’t agree with your conclusion that “the support wasn’t there.” The folks working the recall did a lot of outreach, but were stymied by Corona virus restrictions and the fact that people are not gathering. For a grassroots, all volunteer organization not backed by a political group or club, they did a heck of a job.
Former Mayor Alex Fisch got 4,020 and current Mayor Dr. Daniel Lee got 3,536 votes in 2018 when they were backed by the local Democratic Club.
I do not know the exact number of signatures that were gathered, but recently heard that the count was close to 5,000. To be charitable, if only 4,021 signatures can be verified as correct, that is still more people than voted for either candidate.
I also disagree with your statement that “the conclusion is that most residents simply disagreed.” How do you factually support this conclusion? We are a city of 39,000+ people, with at least 10,000 + who are willing, at times, to vote. Do you have verifiable reports of how many people the recall team contacted, and how many times people did not sign? Many people have told me that they prefer to wait for the November 2022 election. They may not have supported the recall, but that does not mean that they necessarily disagreed with widespread voter dissatisfaction with the City Council members.
I think Jamie hits the nail on the head in her last paragraph. Even if I felt that Fisch and Lee should not continue in the city council, I still would not have signed the petition because the election is so close. A recall was simply not necessary.
Only the failed recall campaign knows how many signatures they gathered, and no one knows how many of them were valid, because they were not submitted to be checked. The rule of thumb is that 75% of petition signatures are valid, but in the failed recall campaign against Mike Bonin it was 2/3 (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-18/recall-drive-targeting-councilman-mike-bonin-falls-short).
Speaking of Bonin, I suggest that this recall ought to be understood as one of a wave of failed reactionary attempts to expel popular progressive leaders through low-turnout special elections: Newsom, Gascon, Rahman, Bonin, etc. See https://la.streetsblog.org/2022/01/19/three-recalls-rejected-on-the-westside/
I agree with Christine. I debated whether to sign the recall petition and decided not to because both Fisch and Lee are up for reelection this year anyway. We have better things to spend our money on than trying to remove them a few months earlier.
What I’d really love to see is a challenge to Fisch and Lee from a couple of solid progressive candidates with the ability to build coalitions, listen to a wide variety of voices, and treat all their constituents with respect (both in person and on Twitter!). I know we have lots of Culver citizens with those abilities, just hoping some of them will decide to run!
Jeff Schwartz: didn’t work out for Chesa though. I think this November will be the true test of support for progressive candidates. Their plans are not working out and people are noticing. I think we’ll see a big move back towards the middle.