Two weeks after 2nd District Long Beach Councilmember Jeannine Pearce issued a formal response to a notice calling for her recall, the group behind the effort announced that its petition format has been formally approved.
The Committee Supporting the Recall of Councilmember Jeannine Pearce– a group seeking the first-term councilmember’s removal based on incidents that allegedly occurred last June– issued a press release Jan. 9 indicating that the city clerk had approved its corrected petition format filed on Jan. 8.
“This afternoon the Long Beach city clerk officially approved our recall petition for signature-gathering circulation during the next 120 days,” the press release states. “This is the first time that a recall petition has been approved in Long Beach at least since the partial attempt to recall Councilman James Johnson in 2011.”
The recall committee also stated it has leased office space for a campaign headquarters and, in the coming days, will launch volunteer signature gatherers throughout the 2nd District.
According to a Jan. 9, 2018 letter from Long Beach City Clerk Monique De La Garza addressed to Ian Patton, a founder of the recall committee, the group now has until the close of the business day on Wednesday, May 9 to file the actual petition. Not less than 20 percent of the registered voters in the 2nd Council District must sign it, according to the city clerk.
“This office estimates that number to be approximately 6,297 signatures,” De La Garza’s letter states. “Presently, I am working with the county elections official to obtain the precise number of signatures required, and that number will be provided to you as soon as it is received. The number of qualified signatures required to qualify a recall for the ballot shall be calculated as of the time of the last report of registration by the county to the secretary of state pursuant to Section 2187 of the [Election Code], in accordance with Section 11221 (b).”
Pearce’s official letter of response was due to the city clerk’s office by Dec. 19, one week after the committee filed its notice of intention. The councilmember was also required to serve a copy of her official reply to one of the proponents named in the notice.
In the letter, Pearce claimed that she “never broke any laws, was not charged with any crimes and did not request special treatment.”
She also stated that the recall will not help parking, homelessness, economic development or other neighborhood issues.
“As your council member, I work hard every day to serve as the effective and transparent advocate that we deserve at City Hall,” Pearce wrote in the letter. “In my short time in office, I have built a historic dog park, added over 150 new parking spots, added bike lanes, approved responsible developments, doubled constituent services and been an advocate for every resident in our district. I will continue to focus on your priorities. Please decline to sign this misleading recall petition.”
As previously reported in the Signal Tribune, in the early-morning hours of June 3, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers and eventually the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) discovered both Pearce and Cotter in a vehicle parked on a median of the 710 Freeway, near the Golden Shore exit. When CHP officers approached the car, they found Pearce and Cotter in the middle of what Pearce’s former attorney described as a “heated” argument.
LBPD officers performed a field-sobriety test on Pearce, who had been driving.
According to police, she passed the test and officers separated the two. Officers drove Cotter home, while Pearce was allowed to ask a friend to take her home, according to a statement from the department. However, later that morning, Pearce called police to intervene again. This time, Cotter had confronted the councilmember outside her home.
Officers discovered that there was an outstanding warrant for Cotter related to a previous charge for a 2014 DUI, and they also arrested him on a charge of public intoxication. Cotter’s attorney said that his client spent only a few hours in jail that day and thereafter enrolled in the necessary alcohol classes related to his DUI case. The attorney also claimed that Cotter sustained injuries that day.