The entire Westminster City Council is looking at a possible recall.
City Clerk Christine Cordon said in a phone interview she’s received recall paperwork for every city council member, including Mayor Tri Ta, and the efforts have qualified to proceed under state law by the Orange County Registrar of voters.
Two separate factions of residents initiated the recalls against different groups of council members.
None of the recalls will go to an election until they get the petition forms approved by the city and signed by at least 20 percent of the city’s total registered voter population, at least 8,736 signatures.
The recall efforts come after months of public clashing between two factions on the Council over issues like ethics and conduct at City Hall and the power to control policy discussions in public meetings.
Residents and council members have said at multiple meetings that the arguing keeps the city from addressing other issues like its budget problems, and prevents actual policymaking.
Proponents for recalling the three-member majority, Councilmembers Kimberly Ho, Charlie Nguyen, and Ta, are organized under a movement led by Westminster United, a group that’s accused the majority of committing a number of ethical violations.
Ta and Nguyen have called the recall efforts against them “unfortunate” and maintain their critics in the public are “misled” by Councilman Tai Do, who’s been an outspoken critic of the majority since he was elected to the Council.
Ho has not responded to requests for comment.
Councilmembers Do and Sergio Contreras were also served with recall papers at a July 10 City Council meeting, more than a week after the recall efforts against Ho, Nguyen and Ta began.
Do over the phone called the recall effort against him and Contreras “misguided,” adding the people behind it “want our city to operate in the dark, so backroom deal-making, corruption and malfeasance can thrive.”
Recall proponents targeting Do and Contreras filed their initial paperwork, known as the Notice of Intent, with the city on July 15. From there, the proponents will need to meet a set of state guidelines before they can get their petition approved with the city.
Each recall petition would need signatures from at least 20 percent of the city’s registered voters — 8,736 signatures — to go to an election. Once the petitions get enough signatures, the City Council will have to call for an election where voters would decide whether the council members should stay in office or be replaced.
The recall team against the Council majority has filed copies with the city of their three formal petitions for each council member, which will be presented to residents when they’re asked to sign them, according to Cordon. Once they are approved by Cordon, the group will be able to canvass the city for signatures.
Westminster United has also begun fundraising for the effort to recall Ho, Nguyen and Ta, and created a campaign committee with the city on July 18.
Paperwork for the committee lists Kelly Lawler of The KAL Group, a professional campaign finance services organization, as its treasurer.
Lawler is also serving as treasurer for a recipient committee raising money for Do’s reelection, named “Friends of Tai Do for City Council 2022.”
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC intern. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @photherecord.