Proponents of Antioch mayor’s recall claim city clerk isn’t following the rules, delaying process

Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder and Mayor Lamar Thorpe hamming it up with his framed recall petition.

Thorpe and Householder are political allies; what took the county two days to do for her recall from the Antioch School Board took 12 days for her to accomplish with his, twice

“I think she’s intentionally dragging her feet.” – Recall proponent Kathy Cabrera

By Allen Payton

Proponents of the recall of Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe are accusing his political ally, City Clerk Ellie Householder of not following the rules for the process in her handling of the paperwork. She is also facing recall from her position on the Antioch School Board. (See related articles here and here)

In emails sent Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, former Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, one of 20 proponents and two people handling the paperwork for the effort, wrote to Deputy City Clerk Christina Garcia, “Once again, the Elections Official, Elizabeth Householder, has refused to provide her ‘findings’ letter to the revised Recall Petition submitted on October 25th to be made available at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall.” Garcia responded that they didn’t have a copy of the letter to the recall proponents in the clerk’s office, included Simonsen’s original email and copied Householder.

He also wrote to City Attorney Thomas Lloyd Smith, “the actions by City Clerk Householder are not in compliance with the Elections Code regarding the Recall process.” On the first email he copied Smith, City Manager Ron Bernal and Administrative Services Director Nickie Mastay, who is the minutes clerk for the city council and works with Householder, and the latter two on his second.

Simonsen’s complaint was that for the second time, Householder sent the finalized paperwork by certified mail instead of providing it to him and Kathy Cabrera, who served Thorpe with the recall notice, on the day it was due. That was yesterday for the organizers’ revised paperwork, which they had to submit because Householder claimed there were mistakes in the initial paperwork they submitted.

Simonsen’s other complaint was Householder took the full 10 days legally allowed to process the same paperwork as the county handled for her recall in just two days.

“The revised Recall Petition on Mayor Thorpe that was submitted on October 25th was identical to the Recall Petition that the County Elections Office approved, in format, font and layout,” he wrote.

Questions for Householder

The following questions were asked of Householder via email Friday afternoon: “Are you required to send the paperwork to the recall proponents by certified mail? If not, why did you? He’s claiming you don’t and it doesn’t appear that you are. In the state’s Recall Procedures Guide it reads: ‘The elections official must, within ten days of receiving the copies of the petition, determine whether the proposed form and wording of the petition meet the necessary requirements and notify proponents in writing of the findings.’

Why didn’t you just provide a written copy for them at the City Clerk’s office for them to have and read on the 10th day? Did you keep a copy for them and the public in the City Clerk’s office at city hall by the 10th day, which was yesterday for their revised paperwork? They’re claiming you didn’t. If so, why not?

Why did it take you the full 10 days both times to handle their paperwork when the county clerk’s office handled your recall paperwork in two days? Was it done sooner, and you just held it until the legal limit?”

Additional attempts to reach Householder were also unsuccessful prior to publication time.

Simonsen’s & Garcia’s Emails

From: Arne Simonsen

Sent: Friday, November 5, 2021 3:44 AM

To: Garcia, Christina

Cc: Mastay, Nickie; Smith, Thomas Lloyd; Bernal, Ron

Subject: Elections Official Response to revised Recall Petition

Christina Garcia, CMC

Once again, the Elections Official, Elizabeth Householder, has refused to provide her “findings” letter to the revised Recall Petition submitted on October 25th to be made available at the City Clerks Office at City Hall.

Instead, she has sent it by Certified Mail which did not use the Neopost in the City Hall Mailroom.

Did she give a copy of her “findings” to City Clerks Office, since this is an official document? If so, please scan it and email to the primary proponents, Kathy Cabrera and myself.

Kathy Cabrera has submitted several emails to the Elections Official/City Clerk requesting the “findings” to be sent to her by email and that request has not been honored.

The Elections Code only requires the “findings” to be in written form, which can be made available at the City Clerks Office, sent by email as an attachment, and/or mailed.

Nowhere in the Elections Code does it require it to be sent only by Certified Mail.


Arne Simonsen, MMC

Garcia Responds

From: Garcia, Christina

To: Arne Simonsen; Householder, Ellie

Cc: Mastay, Nickie; Smith, Thomas Lloyd; Bernal, Ron

Sent: Friday, November 5, 2021, 04:17:34 PM GMT

Subject: RE: Elections Official Response to revised Recall Petition

Good morning Arne,

As you are aware, Ellie Householder is the City Clerk/Elections Official for the City of Antioch.  We do not have a copy of the document in question.  I am referring your email to her for a response.

Thank you.  Be safe.

Christina Garcia, CMC

Deputy City Clerk | City Clerk Department

Simonsen’s Second Email

From: Arne Simonsen

Fri 11/5/2021 1:59 PM

To:  Thomas Lloyd Smith; Bernal Ron

Cc: Nickie Mastay


As one of only 1,330 Master Municipal Clerks in the world, the actions by City Clerk Householder are not in compliance with the Elections Code regarding the Recall process.

When the first Recall Petition was submitted to the City Clerks [sic] Office, Householder had 10 days to provide in writing the findings as to whether the Recall Petition met the requirements of the Elections Code. She provided a response on the 10th day, but refused to make it available on the 10th day. Instead, she sent it by Certified Mail which meant that the primary proponent did not receive the response until the 12th day !!

When the revised Recall Petition was submitted to the City Clerks Office on October 25th, Householder again had 10 days to provide a finding that either additional corrections were required or that the Recall Petition met the requirements and was approved for circulation. The 10th day was November 4th.

Again Householder refused to provide the findings on the 10th day; and instead once again sent it by Certified Mail. This means that once again the lead proponent will not received the findings until after the 10th day.

There is no requirement in the Elections Code that the findings must be sent by Certified Mail or First Class Mail. The only requirement is that it be in writing.

When I was City Clerk, I handled two Recall attempts. In both cases, I provided the findings to the proponent with two days.

The Recall Petition on Householder as an AUSD Trustee was approved by the County Elections Office in 2 days !!

The revised Recall Petition on Mayor Thorpe that was submitted on October 25th was identical to the Recall Petition that the County Elections Office approved, in format, font and layout.

This is reflecting poorly on the City and the administration of the City Clerks [sic] Office. By definition, the Deputy City Clerk is the Deputy Elections Officer.

What is even more egregious is that City Clerk Householder is not providing a copy of the findings to the Deputy City Clerk to file in the MUFFS filing system as a Public Document that is meant to be available to any member of the public to review upon request in accordance with the California Public Records Act.

I am requesting your review of the requirements of the Elections Code with regard to the Recall process and ensure that it is being properly administered in a timely manner.


Arne Simonsen, MMC

“Householder Unfairly Delaying Process”

“This is the second time this has happened,” Cabrera said when reached for comment, reiterating what Simonsen wrote. “The first time the recall answer was due, I asked Deputy City Clerk Christina Garcia for a copy of the written response from Ellie. She told me they didn’t have a copy of it. I was kind of dumbfounded by that because I thought all documents needed to be retained at City Hall.”

“I was also told Ellie is a remote worker,” Cabrera continued. “So, I asked ‘are you telling me Ellie took it home with her?’ Christina said she didn’t know, but only that a copy wasn’t on file in the office. I had to wait two more days for the certified mail to arrive at my house.”

“If the city clerk’s response is a denial because we have to correct something in the petition, that it doesn’t meet state guidelines, we only have 10 days to correct and resubmit. We’re left in limbo for two days while it’s in the mail.”

The recall proponents are required to have the response letter giving approval before signature gathering can begin. Householder’s first letter said the “petition format…does not meet the requirements of the Elections Code as to form and wording.” The letter also provided two areas that needed to be corrected but didn’t provide the specifics.

Householder “was supposed to cite specifically what was wrong” with the first petition. “But she didn’t,” Cabrera shared. “I can honestly say that one of the sections was incorrect. But she was very vague.”

“We had to go to the County Elections office to get a template of a properly formatted recall petition that complies with state requirements because Ellie didn’t provide one,” Cabrera continued.

Cabrera again asked Householder via email to provide her second response letter via email.

“I emailed Ellie multiple times asking her respectfully to send her letter by email. But she refused,” Cabrera stated. “It only requires that we’re informed in writing. An email is in writing.”

“Instead, yesterday, she mailed her response letter from the Rivertown Post Office on West Fourth Street where it was dropped off at 2:19 p.m.” Cabrera explained. “At 5:45 p.m. Ellie responded by email that she had mailed it. Then, at 6:01 p.m. she emailed me pictures of the certified mail receipt with the tracking number. I checked the tracking and saw that at 5:29 p.m. it had departed Antioch heading to Oakland. So, she knew it was too late for me to go to the downtown post office and intercept it.”

Cabrera’s office is in a retail location across from City Hall.

“I was there at that time Ellie could have just handed it to me,” she said.

“Why can she email me all this other stuff but couldn’t email me a copy of her response letter?”  Cabrera asked.

“It’s blatant she’s not willing to be cooperative in this process or to comply with any requests we’ve made.”

“She’s unfairly delaying the process. I think Ellie’s intentionally dragging her feet. That’s because she’s friends and allies with the mayor,” she added. “I’m hoping we get her letter on Saturday. Otherwise we have to wait until Monday.”

Cabrera’s and Householder’s Emails

From: Kathleen Cabrera
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 2021 4:19 PM
To: Householder, Ellie <>
Cc: City Clerk <>
Subject: Re: Public Records Request

Ms. householder,

I am respectfully requesting your response to the corrected Recall Thorpe Petition due by 11/4/21 be issued to me by email. Will this email request suffice?

Thank You,

Kathy Cabrera


From: “Householder, Ellie” <>
Date: November 4, 2021 at 5:45:41 PM PDT
To: Kathleen Cabrera
Cc: City Clerk <>
Subject: Re: Public Records Request
Ms. Cabrera,

Elections Code does not prescribe the method for a response, only that it be made in writing (EC 11224).

Now that the petition response has been mailed, you can submit a Public Records Request for the petition response letter. For convenience, I have attached a blank form to this email.


Ellie Householder, MPP

Antioch City Clerk | Elections Official

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Householder response ltr to Thorpe recall petition 102121

Ellie Householder City Clerk & Thorpe recall

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