Embattled Antioch School Board president served with recall notice

Proponents include parents, teachers, staff and a principal

“the students of Antioch Unified School District were no longer the focus of the Board of Education and drastic action was needed” – David and Lindsey Amezcua

Second Antioch official to currently face potential recall including the city’s mayor

By Allen Payton

On Friday afternoon, Oct. 8, 2021, Antioch School Board President Ellie Householder was served with a notice of recall by David Amezcua, a registered voter and resident of the school district. She was served in the parking lot of her home at 4:41 p.m. according to Amezcua’s wife, Lindsey who was with him.

Householder is the second Antioch official to currently face potential recall including the Mayor Lamar Thorpe. But unlike the mayor, who tossed his recall notice on the ground, twice, when served with his papers, the embattled trustee accepted them and simply said, “Beautiful,” Amezcua shared. (See related article)

The notice includes a list of 20 registered voters who reside within the district and are parents, teachers, staff and a principal.

“The decision to initiate a recall was not made lightly. We discussed the seriousness of taking this action for several months before we decided to act,” the Amezcaus said on behalf of the signers. “It became apparent to us that the students of Antioch Unified School District were no longer the focus of the Board of Education and drastic action was needed to correct the direction we are headed.”

“When the Vote of No Confidence (by AUSD faculty and staff) wasn’t enough to get the trustees to vote to remove Householder as president, we decided to start this process. We are a group of parents, teachers, staff, and administrators that know AUSD needs a leader that wants to work with our educators to achieve collective goals, a leader that is supportive, a leader that wants to effect change in a constructive manner,” they added. “As has been the rally cry for several years, #WeAreAUSD and we demand better.” (See related article)

The notice offers the reasons for the recall including abuse of power and violations of state Education Code and federal law, which are cited in the notice.

“NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CIRCULATE RECALL PETITION

TO THE HONORABLE Elizabeth Householder: Pursuant to Section 11020, California Elections Code, t he undersigned registered qualified voters of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), 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 AUSD Trustee, Antioch, California, and to demand election of a successor in that office.

The grounds f or the recall are as follows:

You are disrespectful of Board Members, Staff and Public who disagree with you during AUSD Board meetings. You have committed Brown Act violations by blocking/deleting comments on Social Media (eliminating equal access). You assert the president must not only collaborate on, but approve, the board agenda. (Ed. Code/Board Policy does not require board president’s approval); You abuse your authority by calling and/or adding agenda items at special meetings that were neither urgent nor necessary. You violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), by publicly posting an unauthorized video of students without permission. You have committed numerous Robert’s Rules of Order Violations during meetings presided over by you: Allowed a substitute motion on a non-debatable “motion to table”; Ongoing efforts to limit or eliminate public comment by removing agenda items without consensus of the board; Stopping public comments midstream when you felt it wasn’t appropriate or directly related to the agenda item; Requesting staff to use personal judgement on which public comments should be entered into public record and which should not; and Abused presidential authority by not recognizing staff / board members’ requests to speak/provide input during a public meeting.”

Recall Proponents

The 20 signers of the recall petition include Lindsey Amezcua, John Muir Elementary School Principal Michael Flosi, former Antioch Council Member and current Planning Commissioner Martha Parsons, former Antioch Planning Commission Chair Janet Rossini Zacharatos, Contra Costa County 2021 Humanitarian of the Year Velma Wilson, and Allison Pantell, April Scott-Garrett, Baltazar and Celestina Perez, Daniel and Denise Rundall, Elizabeth Rieger, Gregory Andelin, Jessica Fernandez, Jessie Allen Lee Wison, Joshua David Isenbarger, Kathleen Cabrera (who served Thorpe his recall notice), Kelsey Martinez, Lakisha Monique Jarvis, Laura Young, Leslie and Robert Scudero, Mary-Ann Bellante, Nancy Mauri, Norma Barela, Shanae Nicole Souza, Susan Jimenez, Tamara Daste, Victoria Lee Virgen.

Recall Process

Householder’s term ends in December 2022, and she currently lives in Area 1 which is represented by Trustee Antonio Hernandez. So, unless the board decides to redraw the current trustee area lines to move her into Area 2, during this year’s redistricting process, Householder will not be able to run for reelection. Householder is also Antioch’s elected city clerk serving in a term that continues through December 2024.

She has seven days to offer a written response to the notice which will be included with the reasons and printed on the petitions which will be used to gather signatures. The district includes all of Antioch and portions of both Oakley and Pittsburg. Householder was elected in 2018 and serves in an at large seat representing the entire school district. (See  map)

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 the Antioch Unified School District, if the registration is between 50,000 and 100,000, to qualify the recall for the ballot. There are approximately 70,000 registered voters in the district which requires organizers gather approximately 10,500 signatures within 160 days or about 66 per day on average. (Actual figures cannot be determined until the County Elections office reopens on Monday.)

The notice also includes the following details for the recall process:

The original notice and proof of service will be filed with the Contra Costa County Clerk/Recorder.

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.

Efforts to reach Householder for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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