Antioch City Clerk for third time mails response letter to petition for Mayor Thorpe’s recall further delaying signature gathering

State Elections Code only requires it be “in writing”; Householder ignores organizers repeated requests to receive letter via email; refuses to answer questions, admit her mistake in second response letter

By Allen Payton

Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder, a political ally of Mayor Lamar Thorpe, has once again chosen to mail her printed response letter to proponents of his recall, further delaying the signature gathering. On Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, organizer Kathy Cabrera was informed that Householder had mailed her response letter This is the third time the city clerk has chosen to do so. (See related article)

It was on the 10th day since they submitted their recall petition for the third time, which is the legal limit for Householder’s response.

The second time the city clerk was due to provide her response letter to the petition on Oct. 21, fellow organizer and former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, who earned the advanced, professional designation of Master Municipal Clerk from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, emailed Householder, writing, “In accordance with Elections Code 11042, the lead proponent, Kathy Cabrera, will pick up the Elections Official’s response to the Recall Petition of Lamar Thorpe.” He further shared the language from that code section.

In an email response that same day, Householder, who has not yet earned the lesser designation of Certified Municipal Clerk wrote, “For clarification, I received the copies of the petition and proof of publication in the Clerk’s office on the 3rd floor. I even opened the door for Ms. Cabrera when she arrived. Further, your understanding of EC11042 (b) is incorrect. In accordance with section (b), the petition response letter was sent in writing today via certified mail. Please find the attached receipt confirming the petition response letter was mailed today.” (The designation of MPP Householder uses in her email correspondence refers to her Master in Public Policy degree.)

However, the state’s Elections Code section 11042 (b) only requires, as both Simonsen and Householder pointed out that, “The elections official…shall…notify the proponents in writing of his or her finding.”

Following is the complete subsection they referenced.

Elections Code Section 11042 “(b) At the time of the filing of the two blank copies of the petition, the proponents shall also file proof of publication of the notice of intention, if the notice of intention was published, or an affidavit of posting of the notice of intention, if the notice of intention was posted.  The elections official or, in the case of a recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, shall, within 10 days of receiving the blank copies of the petition, notify the proponents in writing of his or her finding.”

Questions for Householder Go Unanswered

A voicemail was left on Householder’s cell phone Friday afternoon and an email was sent to her Friday night asking why she mailed the response letter instead of emailing it, as Cabrera has repeatedly asked Householder, including in emails sent on Sept. 27, Nov. 2, 3, 4 and 16. Emails_Cabrera Householder

Additional questions were asked of Householder in the Friday night email, including, “can you please provide the requirement that ‘in writing’ means on a physical piece of paper to support your reasoning? Also, where does it require you to mail your response letter? If it must be printed on a piece of paper, couldn’t you have called Ms. Cabrera and let her know she could meet you or your staff at the City Clerk’s office for one of you to hand it to her the day you issued it? If so, why didn’t you instead of making her and the other recall proponents wait two or three more days to receive it in the mail?”

Householder was also asked, “Did it really take you and/or your staff 10 days to review their petition? If so, what took so long? Asking again, why couldn’t you follow the petition template provided by the County Clerk’s office that was used for your recall, instead of the template provided by the California Secretary of State’s office? Finally, will you admit to making a mistake in your last response letter requiring them to provide the names of the Top Funders when they have yet to form a campaign committee?”

Householder did not respond prior to publication time on Saturday afternoon.

Cabrera expects to receive Householder’s response letter by Monday, Nov. 22, almost two months after Thorpe was served with his recall notice on Sept. 24. (See related article)

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Emails_Cabrera Householder

Emails_Simonsen Householder_Page_2

Emails_Simonsen Householder_Page_1

City Clerk Householder vs. the Thorpe recall

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