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Board of Supervisors plans no-confidence vote against Fletcher

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is planning an emergency meeting Tuesday for a no-confidence vote against embattled Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and to call for him to resign immediately.

Board Chair Nora Vargas announced late Sunday she would introduce the no-confidence resolution at the meeting.

"It's clear to me that in order to move forward with the business of this county and to meet the needs of the people we represent, Supervisor Fletcher must resign immediately,” she said in a statement.


San Diego State political science professor Brian Adams, who's been following San Diego politics for close to 20 years, said this may be the first time that the Board of Supervisors is considering a no-confidence resolution.

"It's pretty rare," he said. "You sometimes get these votes in smaller cities or in special districts, so they're certainly not unprecedented."

Vargas has been a staunch political ally of Fletcher's on the board. In December, he announced he would not seek a third term as chair of the Board of Supervisors, paving the way for Vargas to be the first woman of color to chair the board.

On Monday, there were more calls from local Democrats asking Fletcher to step down immediately.

In a joint statement, San Diego Councilmembers Stephen Whitburn, Raul Campillo and Jennifer Campbell; La Mesa Councilmember Patricia Dillard; Chula Vista Councilmembers Andrea Cardenas and Jose Preciado; National City Councilmembers Marcus Bush and Jose Rodriguez; Lemon Grove Councilmembers George Gastil and Alysson Snow; and Vista Councilmember Dan O'Donnell all call for Fletcher's immediate resignation.


“United, we strongly urge Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to resign from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors without delay to initiate the process of rebuilding public trust in the wake of the severe allegations," the statement read. "It does not serve the public good for an elected official to remain in office while performing no duties. The immediate resignation of Supervisor Fletcher is a crucial step towards rebuilding confidence in our local government and enabling us to move forward with the critical work at hand.”

Adams said there’s a political incentive for both Republicans and Democrats to see Fletcher go as soon as possible.

“For Republicans, they have political incentives to take a tough line on Fletcher, so it's not surprising there," he said. "For the Democrats, they want to fill this seat so they can get a majority back on the board. Fletcher's district is overwhelmingly Democrats. He's likely to be replaced by another Democrat.”

The Board of Supervisors is officially nonpartisan, but party politics is a factor. The board has become increasingly liberal, reflecting the change in the county's demographic.

Fletcher announced on March 29 — shortly after a lawsuit was filed against him alleging sexual assault and harassment — that he would step down from his District 4 seat at 5 p.m. May 15.

Adams said what's surprising is that Vargas is taking this route now. It's only a little more than 30 days until Fletcher's stated resignation date.

"And it's one thing if you were saying, 'Well, I'm gonna resign in 6 months' right? That's something totally different. But it's only a month," he said.

The vote does not remove Fletcher from office but the vote "will serve as a powerful statement for him to resign," Supervisor Jim Desmond said in a statement.

Desmond, a Republican, has been vocal in calling for Fletcher to step down. Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, a Democrat, has also publicly called for Fletcher to step down. Supervisor Joel Anderson, a Republican, previously said it was not up to him to decide for District 4's constituents.

It's unclear if Fletcher can resign immediately. He reportedly is in a treatment center for alcohol abuse and PTSD with no access to the outside world.

Vargas reiterated that the resolution will not speed up the process of replacing Fletcher. She said the board will meet May 2 to discuss options to fill Fletcher's vacancy.

Per the county's charter, the board can appoint someone to fill the spot, hold a special election or a combination of the two.