A petition to recall Mayor Jean Quan is undergoing its third draft by the Oakland city clerk and should soon be coming to a street corner near you.
Once Clerk LaTonda Simmons signs off on the legal language required by the elections code, author Gene Hazzard will have 160 days to gather 19,109 valid signatures — 10 percent of registered voters counted in the last election — to qualify the measure for the November 2012 ballot, Simmons said.
To ensure they have enough valid signatures, Hazzard and others who are organizing the recall petition will have to gather thousands more than that number.
Hazzard said he has a system and is confident that he will be able to collect more than enough signatures to qualify the petition for the election, even though he does not intend to pay signature gatherers.
Perhaps the bigger questions are who might run if the recall makes it on the ballot, and whether or not the election uses ranked-choice voting as required for mayoral elections in the Oakland charter, or the traditional single-candidate-choice election system used by the state of California. The city defers to state elections code for recalls.
Despite the successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, experts say recalls are not easy to achieve. An online effort to recall former Mayor Ron Dellums never got off the ground. But Quan said she has to take it seriously.
“Friends of mine are moving to (counter the recall), but I wish had time,” Quan said, referring to about two dozen community, labor and clergy leaders who gathered Thursday to highlight the efforts by the mayor to bring businesses and jobs to the city and combat crime in East and West Oakland. “I’m hoping next week to meet with people and figure out what the plan is and how serious (the recall) is and pull all the rumors together. I’ve told my staff that the best way to fight the recall is to do our work.
Quan pointed out that she has been in office just 11 months.
“It’s so unfair,” she said. “I’m the first Asian-American mayor of a major American city. They are not going to take me out without a fight.”
The optimism of Quan’s early days was overshadowed by the rising crime rate and the departure of City Attorney John Russo and popular police Chief Anthony Batts. Then came Occupy Oakland, which has been a public-relations nightmare for the mayor.
Joe Tuman, a political and legal communications professor at San Francisco State who came in fourth in the mayor’s race, said he is not involved with the recall attempt. He would not say whether he would run if the recall made it to the ballot.