The effort to recall Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu is still trying to move forward even though they have yet to take a critical step that requires presenting the city with the original intent petition.
In today’s Bulletin on page A10 is a copy of the intent petition published as a legal notice as required under state law.
But before the effort moves forward City Clerk Cassandra Candini-Tilton on Friday said her office has to receive the original petition — and not a copy — either in person or sent via registered mail.
Then the actual circulation of recall petitions can’t occur unless at least 20 of the 21 signatures the group Mantecans4change are verified by the San Joaquin County Elections Department as valid registered voters.
Candini-Tilton noted that legal counsel has made it clear that as the local election official under state law her office must be presented with the original petition and a signed affidavit of the time and manner of service of a copy of the intent petition to Cantu as outlined in the California Election Code, section 1021.
That requirement was not met by Cantu handing the copy over to Candini-Tilton when he was served Oct. 27 prior to the start of the council meeting.
Once Candini has the original she will ask the county elections office to verify the signatures. If they are verified then the clock will start ticking on the time they will have to collect signatures in a bid to ultimately force a recall election. The length of time they have to collect signatures is dependent on the number of registered voters in the city.
After the actual recall petition is signed by 20 percent of the registered voters in Manteca and those signatures are verified it would trigger a recall election. That would entail collecting roughly 8,000 signatures.
That means Cantu would then face a recall election five months before his current term of mayor is completed.
A recall election would cost taxpayers $202,000 to conduct on June 7 based on figures provided to the City Council when they were mulling the possibility of a mayoral primary on that date. If the effort misses that date, a separate election would be needed that would cost more.
The intent petition lists three grounds for Cantu’s recall:
*Inexcusable neglect. Organizers based that on the San Joaquin County Grand Jury report that found after Cantu got elected the city got rid of department heads and replaced them with people who “lacked the experience, qualifications, and financial acumen” respective positions required to completely perform their jobs. That, according to the Grand Jury, created a dysfunctional situation that triggered chaos and turmoil throughout city government.
*Investigations/settlements of lawsuits: The petitioners cite the haphazard execution of administrative leaves that were precursors to department heads leaving the city as the catalyst for several lawsuits resulting in investigations costing between $40,000 and $60,000 each. That, combined with several packages and settlements cost the city over $1 million in two years. Since the grand jury report the city paid another $499,000 in settlements.
*Failure to enforce laws: The intent states for “three long years after taking office, the mayor has intentionally failed to enforce laws and address the growing homeless encampments in the City, and specifically in city parks enjoyed by all citizens. Failure to address these issues has created a public safety issue and is detrimental to nthe citizens of Manteca and out qualify of life.”
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