The city continued to face Filner fallout Wednesday, with plans to amend rules governing voter recalls in the aftermath of the scandal involving disgraced ex-Mayor Bob Filner.
Shortcomings in both the code and City Charter regarding procedures in voter recalls came to light during a petition drive last summer to oust Filner as he was beset by a slew of sexual harassment allegations from multiple women.
The primary policy decision for members of a City Council committee was whether to change the amount of time allotted organizers to collect and file signatures. The panel instructed the City Clerk’s and City Attorney’s offices to study bringing San Diego’s municipal code more in line with state law.
The city now allows 60 days from the time of filing a notice of intent to circulate a petition, plus an extra 30 days to file supplement if organizers need more time to collect signatures.
That conflicts, however, with state and local laws. No other petition process allows a supplemental period, and neither do most other cities, according to the City Clerk’s office.
The state allows for 160 days to circulate petitions, though two council members said they didn’t like that length of time.
“I don’t think longer is better, necessarily, because it leaves us in a state of suspended animation, in a way, because you don’t know the status of a position – you’d like to get it taken care of,” said Councilwoman Sherri Lightner of the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
She said two or three months is preferable.
Councilman Ed Harris said a shorter period would also be more likely to curtail “bad faith manipulation” of the process that could take place over time.
City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said other proposed amendments would provide clarification and consistency without making substantive changes.
City officials are separately working on proposed amendments to City Charter provisions on recalls and forced removal of elected officials. Such amendments will probably go before voters in two years.
A more refined proposal could be brought before the committee in late September.
Voters embraced Proposition A in June, altering election rules regarding runoffs.
– City News Service
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