Antioch Mayor Thorpe served with recall notice, refuses to receive

Video screenshot of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossing the recall notice out of his car after being served by resident Kathy Cabrera. Thorpe with framed notice posted on his official Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Tosses it onto City Hall parking lot, twice; later picks it up, has it framed and posts photo with it on Facebook

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” – Kathy Cabrera, recall proponent

9,400 signatures of registered Antioch voters needed within 160 days to qualify for the ballot

By Allen Payton

Recall petition on ground in the Antioch City Hall parking lot after Mayor Lamar Thorpe tossed it there. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

Less than a year into his four-year term, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe was served with recall papers in the parking lot of City Hall, Friday afternoon, Sept. 24, 2021, by one of the 20 residents who signed them, including several community leaders. Antioch resident Kathy Cabrera served Thorpe, but he refused to receive the required, legal recall notice, going so far as to toss it out of his car onto the ground, video shows. (Download and watch the video, here: Thorpe served recall vid1  or see the video on the Herald Facebook page)

“Today, at 12:30 p.m. at the City Hall parking lot I served Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe with a notice of intention to circulate recall petitions,” Cabrera said when reached for comment. “He said he didn’t know who I was and wouldn’t accept service.”

Thorpe can be heard in the video saying, “I don’t know who you are. Get away from my car.”

She then tossed the paperwork into his car and Thorpe tossed it back out. Cabrera then picked it up and placed it under his windshield wiper repeating, “you’ve been served.  You’ve been served.” He got out of his car, took the recall notice off his windshield and tossed it on the ground, again and drove off.

According to Cabrera, after driving off Thorpe circled back and picked up the notice off the ground. Later, he took a photo with the document in a frame, which Thorpe posted on his official Facebook page.

When reached for comment, Cabrera offered some of the group’s reasons for recalling the mayor.

“We believe that the citizens of Antioch deserve better,” she said. “We’ve seen a variety of good city employees, businesses and residents leave during his tenure at mayor. The people of Antioch are frustrated with the political games, constant self-promotion, and his lack of leadership and in the wrong direction.”

“We are moving forward with the recall process and will soon be out gathering signatures to let the citizens’ voices be heard,” Cabrera added.

Top part of Notice of Intent. Photo by Kathy Cabrera.

The Notice

More and the official reasons for recalling Thorpe are included in the notice which will be part of the petitions that Antioch voters will be asked to sign. Following is the text of the notice Thorpe was served, Friday:

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE Lamar Thorpe: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Elections Code, the undersigned registered qualified voters of Antioch, 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 Mayor, in Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds for the recall are as follows:

Disrespect for Council Members and the Public who disagree with you during City Council meetings. Blocking constituents and not allowing them to comment on your social media. You have failed to provide full support to the great men and women of the Antioch Police which is impeding their ability to keep our residents safe. As a result of your failed leadership it has led to the resignation of Police Chief Tammany Brooks who will be taking up a new post in Boise, Idaho; and the announced retirement of City Manager Ron Bernal. You put on the Council agenda to rescind the School Resource Officer Grant without any public input from the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) Board or Administration after the Officers had been interviewed and selected. You misled the Public about when you were informed about the death of Angelo Quintos, when you had earlier received an email from Chief Brooks. You blamed business owners on Sycamore Drive for the crimes that are being committed by others that live nearby which does not reflect Antioch’s theme: “Opportunity Lives Here”.

————-

Signature Gathering Expected to Begin in October

“The petitions won’t be available until about three weeks,” said former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen. He is one of the 20 recall proponents and was with Cabrera to submit the notice and the proof of personal service to the city clerk’s office, following the interaction with the mayor.

The Proponents

Besides Cabrera, who is the director of a non-profit organization for cats in the city, and Simonsen, the other 18 proponents represent a cross-section of residents in Antioch, including Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha, former Antioch Planning Commission Chair, Ken Turnage II, who was removed by the council, last year, after posting controversial remarks about seniors and COVID on his Facebook page; former Councilwoman and current Planning Commissioner, Martha Parsons; Velma Wilson, the county’s 2021 Humanitarian of the Year; former Mello-Roos Board President, Terry Ramus; plus Tom Hartrick, Lindsey and David Amezcua, Ricardo Cabrera, Nicole Silva, Kathy Vasquez, James Davis (not the former Mayor of Antioch), Mary and Roy Ledford, Katherine J. Belleci, Truman Davis Jr., Clark Wilson, James Wilson, and Thomas McNell, the co-author, with Ramus, of Antioch’s growth-metering ballot initiative Measure U that was passed by 69% of the vote in 1998.

Recall proponents Kathy Cabrera and Arne Simonsen with a copy of the proof of service form date stamped by the Antioch City Clerk’s office. Photo by Kathy Cabrera

The Process

The mayor has seven days to provide a response of no more than 200 words, which will be include on the recall petition for circulation for gathering signatures. But he’s not required to provide one.

The notice includes additional details about the process.

“Elections Code section 11023. (a) Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the elections official, or in the case of a state officer, the Secretary of State, an answer, in not more than 200 words, to the statement of the proponents.

(b) If an answer is filed, the officer shall, within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, also serve a copy of it, by personal delivery or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention.

(c) The answer shall be signed and shall be accompanied by the printed name and business or residence address of the officer sought to be recalled.”

UPDATE: According to the Procedure for Recalling State and Local Officials on the California Secretary of State’s website, and the Guide for Recalls on the Contra Costa County Elections website, organizers must gather the signatures of at least 15% of registered voters in Antioch, if the registration is between 50,000 and 100,000, to qualify the recall for the ballot. As of the November 2020 election, there were 62,394 registered voters in the city which requires they gather approximately 9,400 signatures within 160 days or about 59 per day on average.

Thorpe received 19,792 votes to win the election for mayor, last November out of 44,539 votes cast, for 44.44% of the vote. Should the recall make it to the ballot, just like in the recent gubernatorial recall election, he will face an up or down vote. In addition, a separate vote for the replacement candidates will decide who will be the city’s next mayor for the remainder of the term through Dec. 2024. If a majority of those voting, vote yes to recall Thorpe, the candidate with the most votes in the replacement election wins.

Past Antioch Recalls

Thorpe is the second Antioch mayor to be served with recall papers in the past 35 years, including Wade Harper in 2014 and 2015, and Joel Keller in 1986. But the attempts against Harper, by the same organizers, were unsuccessful, first due to improperly publishing the notice in the paper, and the revived effort failed to gather enough signatures. Organizers for the effort against Keller thought they had collected enough signatures and submitted them. But it didn’t make it to the ballot as it was tossed out by the county elections office after too many signatures were disqualified. Antioch School Board Trustee Debra Vinson was served with recall papers in 2016 but the effort didn’t make it to the ballot.

The last time a successful recall of an Antioch councilmember occurred was in 1995 when Councilwoman Elizabeth Rimbault was recalled. (This reporter also faced recall on the same ballot but beat it by 52-48%).

An effort to reach Thorpe for comment and asking him why he threw the notice on the ground, was unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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the attachments to this post:


Recall petition on ground

Thorpe served recall vid1
Thorpe served recall vid1

Thorpe served recall vid2
Thorpe served recall vid2


Notice of Intent photo


Kathy & Arne with proof of service photo


Thorpe tosses petition & with it framed 092421


One Comment to “Antioch Mayor Thorpe served with recall notice, refuses to receive”

  1. […] After being served with recall papers on Tuesday for abusing her position to benefit political ally, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, City Clerk Ellie Householder approved the petition for his recall in a letter to organizer Kathy Cabrera, today, Thursday, December 2, 2021. It was the 10th day since the fourth version of the petition was submitted, which is the legal limit. Unlike with her previous three letters rejecting Thorpe’s recall petition, this time Householder didn’t just send it by certified mail delaying the signature gathering by two more days, she also left a copy for the organizers at her office in City Hall. (See related articles here and here) […]

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