RECALL JAMES JOHNSON COMMITTEE TO PRESENT CHARGES THIS AFTERNOONBy Dave Wielenga
The Recall James Johnson Committee, which on Tuesday announced its intention to circulate recall petitions against the 7th district’s representative on the Long Beach City Council, says that it will present a list of charges this afternoon—among them “Neglected Duties; Incompetent Performance; and Misuse of his Office.”
The group’s media advisory states that “community leaders from across the city of Long Beach are coming together to say they are tired of politics as usual, backroom deals and misrepresentation by elected officials. They are supporting the Recall James Johnson Committee as they challenge 7th District James Johnson’s ability to manipulate his message to benefit from his intentions rather than act for the greater good of District 7.”
Johnson brushed off the recall effort Tuesday in a comment to Long Beach Press-Telegram reporter Eric Bradley, claiming it is organized by out-of-district residents.
“I think it’s an unfair distraction from the mission that people elected me to do,” said Johnson, “which is improving the quality of life in the 7th District.”
Of course, the definition of out-of-district residents has recently changed because of a controversial districting plan presented by Johnson and passed by the City Council. Among other things, the new boundary between the 7th and 8th district was drawn less than a half-block north of the home of Mike Kowal—meaning the only announced candidate for next year’s 8th district council seat suddenly lives in the 7th district. Kowal has been an outspoken critic of Johnson’s longtime political benefactor, Mayor Bob Foster.
The Recall James Johnson Committee has had a website for several weeks at RecallJohnson.com. Kate Braid (an outspoken opponent of Councilman Johnson’s redistricting plans) is listed as a contact. LBReport.com has learned that among those signing the papers launching the recall is longtime community advocate John Deats. Mr. Deats told LBReport.com that “the last straw for me was Johnson’s vote to cut police and fire levels.”
In figures provided by the City Clerk’s office in May, 2011 (for all Council offices), the 7th district was then-comprised of 26,322 registered voters [major caveat: the number may be different under newly redistricted Council line].
The recall proponents must collect and submit valid signatures from 20% of the district’s registered voters within 120 days to trigger a recall special election…meaning roughly 5,200+ valid signatures will likely be required to trigger a 7th district recall special election.
In that special election, voters are asked only two questions: (1) Shall James Johnson be recalled and (2) if recalled, who (from among any number of candidates who may seek his office) will replace him? If 50%+1 of voters in a recall election vote to recall him, Councilman Johnson is immediately removed from office and the candidate with the highest number of votes takes office.