The City of Westminster faces a political “perfect storm” this year, with upcoming recalls for elected officials and lawsuits involving the police department — not to mention tough choices between higher sales taxes or cuts to public services, and finding a new city manager.
It’s the earliest possible election date allowable under state law following the certification of the recall efforts by county elections officials, and gives prospective candidates hoping to replace the majority faction council members – Kimberly Ho, Charlie Nguyen and Mayor Tri Ta – just 14 days to pull nomination papers and gather between 20-30 signatures from registered voters to qualify as a candidate.
Council members Kimberly Ho, Charlie Nguyen, and Mayor Tri Ta — who comprise a majority voting bloc dubbed by critics as “the Gang of Three” for frequently clashing with minority council members over ethics and power at City Hall — are now officially at risk of being unseated.
Several Democrats are challenging First District County Supervisor Andrew Do. Meanwhile, Third District County Supervisor Don Wagner has drawn a sole challenger, Asheigh Aitken – who lost a close battle for Anaheim’s Mayor’s seat last year.
With new revenue from a recent sales tax increase starting in April, council members hired two police officers, and plan to add part-time code enforcement workers and other services aimed at helping the homeless.
While Westminster City Council members have struggled to make any decisions about how to deal with a $12.6 million structural deficit that is only expected to rise in coming years, they have made at least one thing clear: public safety will be a priority.