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Friday Dec. 6, 2013, 3:56 p.m.
California State Election law could have been violated, invalidating recall campaign.
By Brian Hews and Randy Economy
(Commerce) Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained documents that show that the recall movement against Commerce City Councilwoman Denise Robles was coordinated by a person who lives outside of the industrial residential community, thus putting the entire recall campaign into legal jeopardy.
According to documents obtained from Commerce City Hall on Friday, recall organizer Shawn Thomas states that he is a resident of Downey, living in the Elm View Apartment Complex located on the 9900 block of Elm Vista Drive.
The sworn document, signed under penalty of perjury, was submitted by Thomas to the city Oct.15 of this year.
HMG-CN also examined computer records from the LA County-Registrar-Recorder’s Office in Norwalk on Friday and determined that Shawn Thomas is not a registered voter in Commerce or even Downey. The newspaper did locate three other individuals in Los Angeles County who are registered under the name of Shawn Thomas, including one in Altadena and another one in Los Angeles.
California State Elections Code states, “all of the required “proponents” of a recall must be registered voters in the “electoral jurisdiction” that is, a resident of the city where the recall is occurring.
The election code also states that where a “Notice of Recall” is concerned, “a copy of the notice must be published at the proponents’ expense at least once in a newspaper of general circulation.”
Since Thomas is listed as the official proponent of the Robles recall, and since he is not a registered voter in Commerce, officials at the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters said the effort should be invalidated. HMG-CN also spoke to Commerce City Clerk Victoria Alexander via telephone on Friday and said that she would be referring the matter to Commerce City Attorney Eddie Olivo.
The newspaper contacted Olivo via telephone on Friday afternoon for comment. The calls were not returned by the time this article was published online.
Robles, when informed about the situation, told HMG-CN in a written statement that, “Shawn Thomas who filed the petition to recall me, is not a resident of Commerce (according to the affidavit he signed) nor is he a registered voted in the City of Commerce or the County of Los Angeles.”
“It does not surprise me that this individual does not reside in the City of Commerce. Many residents of Commerce have expressed that they do not feel that the recall against me is valid, yet they are so afraid of the City Council, Eddie Olivo the City Attorney, and City Administrator’s retaliation tactics that they will not get involved and speak out,” Robles charged.
Robles went on to say, “I am elated that those who are attempting to recall me could not get a resident of Commerce to stand up and take responsibility for publishing in a newspaper and posting in public the blatant lies that were in my recall petition.”
Asked about why Olivo invalidated Baca Del Rio, Lilia Leon, and Ivan Altamirano’s recall against them Robles said, “ Olivo invalidate the recall against Tina Baca Del Rio, Lilia Leon, and Ivan Altamirano. Although the city attorney did his due diligence in researching and finding cause to invalidate the recall efforts against my three colleagues, thus far he has done nothing to confirm that the proper election procedures are being followed in the recall effort against me.”
“It is issues like this that drive me to continue my stance against corruption in our city. Regardless of what takes place in the city I will continue to do my best for the residents of the city with a goal of moving Commerce forward.”
City Attorney Eddie Olivo contacted HMG-CN and said he could not comment until he saw all the documents. He also said that he would not be the final arbitrator, that county election officials would make the final decision.
Note: Here is the California State Election Code regarding the Recall of a local elected official. Source: California Secretary of State. “A copy of the notice must be published at the proponents’ expense at least once in a newspaper of general circulation. The publication need not include the information listed in Section 5(d) below. If such publication is not possible, the notice shall be posted in at least three public places within the jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled. Posting is allowed only if there is no newspaper of general circulation able to provide timely publication in the jurisdiction of the officer whose recall is being sought. (Government Code §6000, et seq., §11022).”
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