Land-use consultant Michael Pallamary of La Jolla and Stampp Corbin, publisher of LGBT Weekly, held a news conference near City Hall to announce they’d merged their separate recall drives.
The announcement came in the wake of a memo released by the City Attorney’s Office finding that, though the municipal code doesn’t prevent separate efforts to collect petition signatures in recalling an elected official, only one can be certified for an election ballot by the City Clerk’s Office.
“The city attorney has said we can do both campaigns separately, but if we do that, the signatures that we collect cannot be combined at the end,” said Elisa Brent, who, along with Corbin and Pallamary, co-chairs the Recall Bob Filner Campaign. “So that was a clear signal to us that we needed to bring both campaigns together in order for the citizenry of San Diego to be able to have a say.”
“We have one unified goal and common objective, that is to represent the eight women, and maybe more, who have been harassed,” he said.
The trio distributed to the media and observers a laundry list of reasons why Filner should be recalled, a list that included the mayor repeatedly ignoring City Council votes and moving in a direction contrary to their wishes.
“It’s about Bob Filner and his totally unacceptable behavior,” said Brent. “He has disrespected and abused women and is so offensive that he is clearly unfit for public office. This recall is the only remedy.”
The clock is now ticking on the Filner recall effort. The mayor has until Aug. 11 to choose whether to respond to the petition notice.
“On Aug. 11, the people of San Diego will be able to have their voices heard,” said Corbin citing the date when petitions to recall Filner can begin to be circulated. The deadline to collect almost 102,000 valid signatures to put the recall on an election ballot is Sept. 26.
Corbin acknowledged he and Pallamary had agreed to join forces despite having different strategies to recall Filner. Corbin has said he opposes hiring paid signature-gathers for the Filner recall effort. He cited the success of paid signature gatherers who were instrumental in getting Proposition 8, the measure against same-sex marriages, put on the 2008 state election ballot which Corbin said violated civil rights.
“My strategy says the people of San Diego want to speak — and they will step forward,” said Corbin.
Pallamary acknowledged it may be necessary to use paid signature-gatherers if the recall effort is to succeed, especially given the limited time frame involved.
“Every voice needs to be heard here,” Pallamary said. “And the cost of that effort is going to be a direct reflection on how many volunteers we get. I’m proposing that people send us money so that we can proceed.”
“It’s not going to be just the people on the street who are voluntarily giving up their free time,” concurred Brent. “It’s going to be people who are being paid. That’s the only way we can guarantee we’ll get enough signatures.”
“Seven of the nine City Council people have stepped forward and said they want the mayor to resign,” said Corbin. “Each one of them has an organization that helped them get elected. I would hope they would engage their organizations to collect signatures. Engage those volunteers to walk the streets of the district again.”
Asked what the next step was going to be, Pallamary said, “We’re waiting for Mayor Filner to respond.”
For more information or to get involved with funding, visit www.facebook.com/RecallBobFilner.