Discontented voters in both San Francisco and Oakland are gathering support for recall campaigns for the mayors in both cities, largely due to what is seen as their inaction or lack of leadership following multiple police department scandals and the fatal shootings of civilians by police. The campaign to recall Mayor Ed Lee will kick off with a rally Friday at San Francisco City Hall, and though it's now too late to get a recall measure on the November ballot, the campaign is moving forward with the intent of having a special election, perhaps next June.
Organizer David Carlos Salaverry told San Francisco Magazine last week that he's hoping to build multiple coalitions in support of ousting Lee, saying, "We’re not a bunch of left-wing crazies." The Facebook invite for Friday's rally argues that Lee "ignored the will of the people and stood by an inept police chief" following the shootings of Mario Woods and Luis Gongora, and that Lee has "shown his callous disregard for the most vulnerable of our community, the homeless."
To recall the mayor, organizers need to gather 60,000 signatures for their petition, which Salaverry thinks won't be a problem, though it will require a small army of clipboard-carrying supporters.
Not that we can blame all the economic forces at work here on Lee, but Salaverry thinks many see the city headed in the wrong direction and would want to cut Lee's current term short by at least a couple years. "San Francisco in 10 years will be an all-white whatever... San Ramon with hipster cafes," he told SF Mag. "That’s a direction I don’t think the majority of San Franciscans, even conservatives and moderates, want to head in."
In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf has now been in office 18 months and has faced her most vociferous criticism just in the last month following news of several new scandals in the already scandal-prone Oakland Police Department. Schaaf had to fire two interim chiefs within a week after Chief Sean Whent stepped down, after it came to light that he had been aware for months of a sex scandal involving an East Oakland sex worker, Celeste Guap, who had been underage when she began trading sex for information with several OPD officers. Allegedly Guap made her way around to 14 different officers in the department in addition to others in the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, the Richmond Police Department, and three in the SFPD as well.
As KRON 4 reports, activists announced Monday that they were filing a letter of intent to recall Schaaf, citing a "litany of grievances," but mostly centered on the OPD.
Schaaf said she welcomed "the opportunity to have my record examined and what I’ve accomplished in Oakland in the past year and a half."
The recall effort there, which will require over 20,000 signatures (10 percent of the electorate), is running up against deadlines of its own, though there may still be a week or two to get it on the November ballot if it comes together quickly. All signatures need to be certified 88 days before the November 8 election, and should technically be submitted 134 days before, meaning they're basically out of time.
Organizer Cat Brooks, who's spoken out in the wake of multiple protests in the city, tells ABC 7, "The people in the hills are happy. Developers are happy. But the black and brown, who make up the heart and soul of this city, are sick and tired of being sick and tired."
Unfortunately, the group submitting the letter of intent for their campaign in Oakland, the Anti-Police Terror Project, made a procedural mistake, and will need to resubmit their letter to the City Clerk. "Apparently we need 24 signatures," Brooks says to ABC 7. "We will be back."
Sidebar: Who would Salaverry and the Recall Lee folks like to see take his place in an election that probably wouldn't happen until 2018? He says tech writer Kara Swisher, who has already announced her intent to run for mayor in 2023, as "one very interesting potential candidate."