Antioch City Clerk again rejects Mayor Thorpe’s recall petition adds unnecessary requirement

Second Thorpe recall denial letter from City Clerk Householder dated Nov. 4, 2021 including a third and an unnecessary requirement not included in her first denial letter. Source: Kathy Cabrera

Mails letter, again instead of emailing it, further delaying process; proponents used county template which is different than state template that the city clerk follows; revised petition submitted Tuesday afternoon

By Allen Payton

On Saturday, Nov. 6 proponents for the recall of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe received by certified mail a second letter denying their petition paperwork from City Clerk Ellie Householder because it didn’t match the format she has chosen to follow. In addition, this time she added an unneeded requirement that wasn’t mentioned in her first denial letter. It’s the second time the city clerk has rejected the Thorpe’s recall petition. (See related article)

The challenge the organizers faced was the template they followed for the recall petition format they received from the County Clerk is slightly different than the one from the California Secretary of State, which Householder follows. Contra Costa County Recall Petition Template      Secretary of State Recall Petition Template

Under “Necessary Corrections” Householder’s letter reads the same for the first two items. The new correction reads, “Must include ‘Official Top Funders’ pursuant to Elections Code section 107(b).”

Kathy Cabrera, one of the leaders of the recall effort, who served Thorpe with the recall notice, said, “If that really needed to be corrected, why didn’t she include it in the first letter? But in fact, it doesn’t.”

That’s because the requirement is only if an official committee has been formed, which the recall proponents haven’t done, yet.

Asked if they had formed a committee she said, “No and there was nothing that would even say we had a committee.”

The Recall Procedures Guide on the California Secretary of State’s website, for local officials on page 16, reads as follows:

Official Top Funders Disclosure Requirements

For any recall petition for which the circulation is paid for by a committee formed pursuant to Government Code 82013, an Official Top Funders disclosure shall be included on the petition or in a separate document presented to a prospective signer of the petition. (Elections Code § 107(b))

As for the first two corrections, Cabrera stated, “We followed the template used for the petition for Householder’s recall from the school board and that was accepted by the County Clerk.”

That complaint is in addition to the fact that they were forced to wait two extra days – both times – because Householder refused to provide them with her letter via email or in person. That is delaying the signature gathering process because proponents must first receive a letter from the city clerk that their petition paperwork has been approved.

“Had we received her letter by email on Thursday, we could have had the corrected paperwork back to her on Friday to start another ten days,” Cabrera stated. “She’s only required to provide it in writing. email is in writing.”

Questions for Householder

An email was sent to the city clerk on Saturday asking, “why does your latest letter, dated Nov. 4, 2021, denying the petition of the proponents for Mayor Thorpe’s recall, list the requirement that they disclose their top funders, when they haven’t yet formed a committee? Is a committee name on any of the documents they submitted to the City Clerk’s office? If not, why would you assume they formed one? Or did you simply make a mistake in your latest letter? Also, even if it was a requirement, why didn’t you include that in the first letter you sent them?

“Is it true, as has been shared, that you and Lamar have been working together on this, and that you have obtained the advice of a consultant to assist you in responding to the proponents of his recall, and to handle the paperwork and process for it?

“Finally, if the proponents followed the same format provided by the County Clerk’s office, which was also used for the petition for your recall that the County Clerk’s office approved, how is their latest petition submission for the mayor’s recall incorrect, as you cited in the first two sections of the Necessary Corrections?”

Householder did not respond to any questions as of publication time Tuesday night, Nov. 9.

Different Petition Templates Used by County and City

“We spoke with the county clerk’s office staff on Monday, and we ended up using the state’s template, this time,” Cabrera said. “Because the template we had used before was the County’s. The Householder recall petition was approved using that template. But it’s different than the state’s template.”

“It’s not very different but enough that one item needed to be changed,” she continued. “But the third requirement of disclosing the Official Top Funders does not apply to us, because we haven’t formed a committee and we don’t meet the requirements to complete a Form 410, yet.”

That’s the form required once a committee is formed or if $1,000 is received from one individual or $2,000 from more than one.

“There are multiple thresholds, and we haven’t met any of them, yet,” Cabrera added.

“One of the corrections was so ambiguous we couldn’t figure out exactly what she wants,” she continued. “We sequentially numbered the proponents’ names following the example of the recall papers for Governor Newsom.”

When they submitted the petitions both times, the names of the proponents weren’t numbered.

“We even made sure the first paragraph wasn’t indented,” Cabrera explained. “It does say the petition has to be identical to the template. But Householder was being difficult. So, we removed the indentation and numbered the names.”

They reviewed every letter and even used a measuring tape to make sure the box next to where people sign is one inch from the edge, as required.

Another minor difference is the county petition template doesn’t have a place for the signature gatherer to date the form and the state’s does. So, they added that, as well

Organizers Submit Revised Petition

The revised paperwork was submitted Tuesday afternoon with a cover letter. Thorpe recall petition-#3 cover ltr

“Petition number three was graciously accepted by Ms. Householder. She actually date stamped it and provided a copy of it. She didn’t do that before.”

Asked if Householder approved the petition, Cabrera responded, “No. She didn’t approve it. She accepted it as filed.”

“Although we feel we shouldn’t have had to submit the paperwork for a third time, because we followed the county’s template used for Householder’s recall, that was for school board and this is for the mayor,” she concluded.

“Now we wait 10 calendar days. I think that’s the 19th,” Cabrera added.

 

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the attachments to this post:

Thorpe recall petition-#3 cover ltr
Thorpe recall petition-#3 cover ltr


Second Thorpe recall denial ltr 11-4-21


Secretary of State Recall Petition Template

Contra Costa County Recall Petition Template
Contra Costa County Recall Petition Template

Thorpe recall petition #3 cover letter
Thorpe recall petition #3 cover letter


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