The move to recall the entire City Council picked up steam this week as the city clerk certified the language of the recall petition and organizers began collecting signatures.
Recall proponents set up a table outside City Hall to gather signatures from residents attending Tuesday night's City Council meeting. "It's going great," said recall organizer Don Murphy, who carried a sign reading "Recall Them All."
The petition says the council should be recalled because of its unanimous vote to ban ownership of assault rifles in Whittier and for failing to limit apartment construction in neighborhoods around the Uptown Village business district.
Signatures are being collected by members of the Whittier Voters Coalition, a group of gun enthusiasts and others who banded together in March after the council vote on assault rifles. However, historic preservationists who have opposed new apartment construction are not supporting the effort to recall Mayor Victor A. Lopez and Councilmen Gene Chandler, Myron Claxton, Thomas K. Sawyer and Robert H. Woehrmann.
The petitions accuse the council members of "abuse of powers," saying they "willfully allowed and encouraged a program of apartment construction within the city limits to continue in direct conflict of the wishes of the majority of its citizens."
The petitions also criticize the council for not allowing residents to vote on the assault rifle ordinance and for "endangering the public health and safety by enacting a restrictive firearm ordinance which refuses a citizen of Whittier a right to keep and bear arms."
Recall proponents have until Aug. 22 to collect signatures from 7,569 registered voters to force an election, City Clerk Gertrude L. Hill said. A separate petition will be required for each council member, she said. Hill will have 30 days to certify the signatures.
Although state law allows subjects of a recall effort to provide a written response to the petition, none of the City Council did, Hill said. Council members have dismissed the recall effort as frivolous.