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Politics

Filner-Inspired Recall Amendments Unanimously Approved By San Diego City Council

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner speaks to the City Council, Aug. 23, 2013, saying he has agreed to resign on Aug. 30 amid sexual harassment allegations brought by at least 17 women.
Associated Press
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner speaks to the City Council, Aug. 23, 2013, saying he has agreed to resign on Aug. 30 amid sexual harassment allegations brought by at least 17 women.

Residents who want to recall elected officials in San Diego will have more time to collect signatures under new procedures that were given unanimous final approval Monday by the City Council.

The amendments stemmed from problems with the recall process revealed last year when the administration of then-Mayor Bob Filner was mired in scandal.

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Among the changes:

  • the amount of time to collect signatures was doubled from 60 to 120 days;
  • a supplemental period in which recall proponents could gather more signatures, if they didn't have enough when the petitions were filed, was removed;
  • the time given to the city to schedule an election, if the recall qualifies, was increased to 180 days;
  • a recall drive registered with the City Clerk's Office will require five proponents who live in, or vote in, San Diego; and
  • recall efforts will not be allowed against an elected official whose term is scheduled to end within six months.

Last year, residents began circulating petitions to recall Filner after he was accused of sexual harassment by about 20 women. Filner stepped down Aug. 30, making the recall effort moot.

In an earlier meeting, Councilman Mark Kersey said the experience showed that the city's recall procedures weren't well-conceived. The recall process should be difficult but not impossible, and last year it was "borderline impossible'' to get Filner out of office, he said.

The new procedures align San Diego with the practices used in large cities around the state, according to City Clerk Elizabeth Maland.