Ken Leighton 6 p.m., Aug. 24
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith says recall law is unconstitutional and should be struck down.
Opinion opens the door for a recall effort against Bob Filner.
Portions of the city law governing recall elections should be repealed, reads a July 26 memo from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith's office.
If city council members agree, which is highly likely, then voters hoping to oust Mayor Bob Filner from office will have much better odds.
The 1968 law "prohibits the counting of certain votes in recall elections, stating that, 'No vote cast for a candidate shall be counted unless the voter also voted on the recall question.'"
In her memo, Deputy City Attorney Sharon Spivak states that a similar law was struck down in federal court back in 2003.
"Although the federal court decision expressly does not apply to San Diego’s election code, it is clear San Diego’s similar provision would not survive legal challenge. Thus, our office recommends that the offending section be repealed, to avoid any such future challenge and to clarify San Diego’s recall election procedures."
Efforts to force Filner from office have mounted over the past week and will continue to intensify as the Mayor readies himself for a two-week stint at rehab aimed at correcting his treatment of women.
Sexual harassment allegations have dominated the news in San Diego and made national headlines ever since attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs joined former councilmember and Filner staffer, Donna Frye, at a July 9 press conference to ask that Filner step down as Mayor. In the following weeks, seven women have come forward with accusations that the Mayor accosted them with sexist remarks, inappropriate touching, and unwarranted sexual advances.
Armed with the allegations, longtime Filner foe Michael Pallamary announced a recall effort.
"I have watched Mr. Filner over his entire political career and I have seen him interact with women; women that are someone's wife, or mother or daughter - good women who have wanted to make contributions to society doing good things. He has used his office to harass them and exploit them and that is wrong," reads a recent Facebook post from Pallamary.
The July 26 memo opens the door further for voters who hope to force Filner out of City Hall.
"Our Office recommends that the section not be enforced and promptly be repealed to avoid an unnecessary legal challenge and to ensure the City’s recall laws are constitutional."
The city council will discuss the amendment at a future council hearing.
More like this:
- Just what authority will Council President Todd Gloria have after taking control of Mayor's Office? — Aug. 24, 2013
- City Attorney continues to chip away at San Diego's recall law — Aug. 20, 2013
- Sheriff reportedly plotting mayor's ouster got funds from Lynch, Blue, hotel interests, report says — Aug. 6, 2013
- Jan Goldsmith scrambling to change City Charter to make recalling Filner easier back in early May — July 27, 2013
- Filner can veto port nominations, city attorney memo says — Jan. 18, 2013