By T.A. Hendrickson
In the nascent effort to recall Councilmember Kevin de León, the next move is his: De León has until August 9 to file a response with the City Clerk to the recall Notice of Intent that was served on July 19 and published on July 22 in The Daily News and La Opinion. You can read the Notice here.
De León is not required to file a response to the Notice and as of Tuesday afternoon, August 3, he had not done so, according to the City Clerk’s office.
However, De León did release a statement after the Notice was served on July 19 in which he addressed the complaint in the Notice about his handling of homelessness in Eagle Rock. In the statement, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, De León said he had promised his constituents he would tackle the district’s problems with “urgency, compassion, and common sense — and that is exactly what we are doing.”
If De León does file a formal response to the Notice, the recall proponents must attach it to the draft petition they are required to file with the City Clerk by Aug. 11. The recall proponents are the five local residents who signed the Notice of Intent: Pauline Adkins, Helen Misik, Deneane Stevenson, Janie Costantini and Amy Peters.
In addition to faulting De León for his handling of homelessness, the recall proponents allege in the Notice that he “wants to destroy businesses on Colorado Boulevard by making it a one lane corridor.” The reference to a ‘one lane corridor’ relates to a plan being studied by Metro to reduce the boulevard to one car lane each way as part of a North Hollywood-to-Pasadena bus rapid transit route.
At this point in the debate over Metro’s plan for Colorado Boulevard, De León has not endorsed a lane reduction. Rather, he has prevailed upon Metro to also study an option for preserving two car lanes on the boulevard before a decision is made on a route configuration. When the Sentinel reached out to Adkins to advise her that our reporting differs from what is written in the Notice and ask for comment, she said she was not prepared to discuss the Notice at this time.
Meanwhile, community members who prominently oppose Metro’s proposal for a lane reduction on Colorado Boulevard — Cheryl Weaver, Mona Field and Kim Martellino — have told the Sentinel they do not support the recall effort and do not believe it helps their cause for recall proponents to conflate the Metro issue with the recall effort. “We want nothing to do with the recall,” said Field. “It’s not relevant to our issue.”
De León’s spokesperson did not respond to a question from the Sentinel asking if De León had a comment on the Metro-related claim in the Notice.
After the recall proponents submit a draft petition on Aug. 11, the City Clerk has until Aug. 21 to approve the draft, and possibly longer depending on needed revisions. Upon approval of the draft petition, recall proponents would have 120 days to collect some 20,500 signatures on the recall petition, followed by a 30-day period when the City Clerk verifies the signatures.
If the City Clerk finds that enough valid signatures have been gathered, a recall election would be scheduled.
Adkins told the Sentinel she is confident the signatures can be amassed, saying that 25 people had committed to the collection effort.
Still, signature collection is a formidable task requiring money or a “really, really dedicated band of foot soldiers, or both,” said Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson, an expert on local government, in comments to the L.A. Times.
The effort to recall De León is one of several currently underway, including those targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin, L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman and L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón
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