Effort to recall Antioch City Clerk Householder ends failing to gather enough signatures

Part of signatures organizers claim were stolen by paid contractor with those for Thorpe’s recall along with money to pay professional petitioners

By Allen D. Payton

The Committee for the Recall Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder announced today, Monday, June 6, 2022, “that the required numbers of signatures for the recall were not collected” on the day of the deadline for submitting the 9,521 signatures of registered voters in the city required to place Householder’s name on the ballot. The effort to recall her from the Antioch School Board ended in early April. (See related article)

It follows on the heels of the failure of the recall effort against Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, last month, due to the alleged theft of the funds paid to the contractor to gather signatures and the signatures that had already been gathered. The leaders claimed they had gathered more than enough signatures to place Thorpe’s name on the ballot. (See related article)

Householder was served with recall papers to remove her from her position as city clerk on Nov. 30, 2021 and signature gathering began at the end of December. (See related articles here and here)

The committee’s statement offered an explanation for the failure of the Householder recall. It continues as follows:

The majority of Antioch citizens coming out to sign were focused on one thing, the Antioch Mayor Recall Lamar Thorpe petition. Many of the signers had simply never heard of Householder.

The primary reason for the Antioch City Clerk recall was to provide an incentive for Clerk Householder to correctly and efficiently handle the processing of the petition for the Recall Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe Petition; that objective was eventually achieved.

The petition for the City Clerk reads, “The grounds for the recall are as follows: You violated the California Public Records Act (Government Code 6253) by failing to provide a copy of a public document to the records department at Antioch City Hall and thus hindered a constituent from their right to inspect a public record. You rejected the first drafted petition to recall the Antioch mayor without including a statement of what alterations to the petition were necessary (Elections Code 11042(c)). You then rejected a second petition citing election code 107(b), which is not applicable to the recall effort. You ignored the proponents request to send your findings via email, instead choosing to send them via certified mail at a cost to the city and cited elections code 11224 as your reason to not email them. Election code 11224 refers to the certification process of approved petitions that have already been signed by registered voters and was erroneously cited. You omitted emails from a Public Records Request, once again violating the California Public Records Act. This misuse and misapplication of Election Codes and continued violations of Government Code 6253 illustrates your inability to do the job in which you were elected and warrants your removal.”

The mayor’s recall petition was first filed on September 24, 2021 and approved more than two months later on December 2, 2021. While the proponents of the Mayor’s Recall did make an error on the first filing, Clerk Householder used the full ten days, allowed by California Elections Code, to respond to their resubmission by US Postal Service. To extend the response timeline further, she the response was mailed on the afternoon of the 10th day by certified mail, even though the main proponent asked for a response by email. She continued to use the same process on the second and third filing, until she was served with her own Recall Petition. On the fourth filing, although she had a question regarding the intention to form a Campaign Finance Committee, not required to be in the filing, she called the main proponent for the answer and once it was provided, she verbally approved the petition and followed it up by an official email. The delay tactics ensured that the mayor’s recall petition was delayed again and again.

The relationship between the Clerk and the Mayor is well known, as showcased in a Thorpe/Householder TikTok video. The text overlay reads, “When the Mayor and City Clerk have each other’s back.” In it, Thorpe and Householder are seen standing next to each other behind the council dais, while he points to her and himself, mouths the words of a speaker saying “she’s my best friend. You mess with her, you mess with me, you mess with me, you mess with her. You mess with us, you better pray and run.” Watch the video on this link: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CdHkYhVDUIn/ (See related article)

Householder is the first elected official to be the subject of two local recalls. First as an Antioch Unified School Board Trustee and then as Antioch’s City Clerk. She is now the first elected official to not have two recall processes completed, but both recalls achieved their objective by holding her publicly accountable for her actions and misuse of power. It is hoped that the effort has helped Clerk Householder to understand that despite the close personal relationship she and Mayor Lamar Thorpe enjoy, she is expected to consider the relationship with her constituents to be her primary focus.


Questions for Committee

The following questions were sent to Diane Gibson-Gray, one of the proponents for Householder’s recall. How many signatures were gathered for Householder’s recall? She responded, “I was not involved in the signature tally and I do not have that information.”

Gibson-Gray was also asked if some of the signatures gathered for Householder’s recall part of those the paid contractor stole and didn’t provide to the committee. She responded, “The paid signature gathers included Householder’s petition when gathering signatures for Thorpe in the hope that the Recall Antioch City Clerk Ellie Householder efforts would include fundraising, which did not occur. A Campaign Finance Committee was not formed as the $2,000 threshold for funds raised / expenses paid was not met.”

Recall organizers, Lindsey Amezcua was then asked if she knew how many signatures were gathered for Householder’s recall.

Amezcua responded, “only around 5,000 were collected. No one really put in the effort after the debacle with Thorpe’s (recall).”

She was also asked if the signatures for Householder’s recall were among those the contractor is accused of stealing. Amezcua responded, “Yes, the pro’s had pages for the clerk recall as well, that weren’t handed over. But they weren’t paid for any, so I can’t tell you how many they had.”

Householder chose to not respond to an effort asking if she had any comment about the committee’s announcement prior to publication time.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Ellie Householder City Clerk recall fails

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