Recall Notices Called Invalid in Santa Ana Gay Dispute

Times Staff Writer

Santa Ana City Atty. Edward J. Cooper said Wednesday that recall notices served on three Santa Ana City Council members this week are defective because, among other things, the organizers failed to sign them as required by law.

Recall organizers responded by saying that even if the notices are invalidated, they will issue new ones and start the campaign again.

Cooper said that the notices given to Mayor Daniel H. Young and council members Patricia A. McGuigan and Daniel E. Griset did not include the organizers' signatures, cite the proper provisions of the state Election Code or specify the time of day when the notices were served.

"The notices are deficient, every one of them," Cooper said, adding that he will formally recommend today that City Clerk Janice C. Guy discard them.

Patterned After Earlier Notice

Jon Turner, one of the recall organizers, said he had patterned his notice after one that was successfully filed last year against Young.

"I really think they're wrong on this," Turner said.

If the notices are invalidated, the recall organizers will be required to draw up new ones and present them again to the council members in person or by certified mail.

"This will be an opportunity to show our determination," Turner said.

The three council members are being targeted by a group of five Santa Ana residents who are supporters of the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, leader of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition. Turner said the group acted because the city officials had refused to sign a "pro-family" resolution promising to pass an emergency ban of the Gay Pride Festival scheduled in September.

Sheldon, who has long opposed the Gay Pride event, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"I know it's inevitable that it will come back," McGuigan said. "But by the second time, it will probably be anticlimactic."

Last year, organizers of a recall campaign against Young ran into a similar delay when their notice was invalidated because their statement contained more than 212 words, a dozen more than the 200 allowed. Organizers filed corrected notices several days later, but the recall effort failed to garner enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

Turner said organizers of the current recall have not decided whether to also launch a campaign against Councilman Richards L. Norton, who also refused to sign the "pro-family" resolution. Turner said that Norton was initially excluded because organizers thought he was exempt since he has been in office only since April. The state code, however, reads that a council member can be recalled as long as he has held office for more than 90 days.

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