WESTMINSTER : Recall Signatures Turned In, Await OK


Mayor Charles V. Smith and three other City Council members are likely to face a recall election in June as recall proponents turned in Monday what appeared to be more than sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot.

City Clerk Mary Lou Morey said that a preliminary count indicated that the signatures exceeded the 6,938 required for each petition. However, the signatures have yet to be verified by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Morey said that the county registrar has 30 days to check the signatures’ validity. She said she expects the process to be completed sooner to allow the city time to prepare for the expected June election.


The balloting would coincide with the state primaries and would cost about $30,000, Morey said. If the election were not paired with the primary it would cost the city $75,000.

The petition to recall Smith generated 9,051 signatures, Morey said. There were 8,892 signatures for Councilman Craig Schweisinger; 8,918 for Councilwoman Charmayne S. Bohman and 8,836 for Councilman Tony Lam.

“We feel that the people are saying, ‘Enough,’ “said Mike Garrison, a director of the firefighters union, which is supporting the recall. “Now, we’ll wait (and see) if they will let that stick when the election comes up.”

The petition drive started in October following months of dispute between the firefighters union and city officials over cuts in the Fire Department budget and a subsequent reorganization that included layoffs and putting a fire truck out of service.

City officials said the reorganization was necessary to expand the city’s paramedic services and reduce the Fire Department’s overtime expenses. Firefighters union officials argued that the cuts put public safety in jeopardy.

Smith said the firefighters union and their supporters resorted to “scare tactics and untruths” to get voters to sign the petitions. Now, he said, he and his colleagues have to work harder to “tell the truth to the people.”


“They (firefighters) told seniors that we are doing away with paramedics, when in fact we’re increasing paramedic services,” Smith said. “They said we were closing fire stations, and they lied about equipment changes.”

He said the recall is costly and unnecessary because his current term and those of Schweisinger and Lam end in November.