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Group Seeking Recall Submits Petitions

In the last step before it can begin gathering signatures for a recall election, the group seeking to oust Thousand Oaks Mayor Judy Lazar and Councilman Andy Fox submitted draft petitions Tuesday to the city clerk’s office.

City Clerk Nancy Dillon has up to 10 days to certify the separate petitions, which list reasons for recalling Fox and Lazar, a list of people supporting the recall and rebuttals from the recall targets.

The contentious Thousand Oaks political climate also has spawned a recall effort against Councilwoman Elois Zeanah.

Organizers of all the recall efforts must collect signatures from 15% of the city’s 69,049 registered voters--10,357 signatures--to place their measure on the ballot. Organizers have 160 days from the date recall papers are certified to gather the signatures.

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The group Yes! Remove Elois Zeanah--using paid signature gatherers and the power of advertising--has already collected more than 10,000 signatures, but Zeanah’s attorneys have questioned the validity of that group’s petition forms. Recently, the city agreed not to verify the anti-Zeanah signatures until a court resolves whether the petitions are legally drawn.

Saying the anti-Zeanah effort is backed by developers with deep pockets rather than workaday citizens, Residents to Recall Fox and Lazar has pledged to use volunteers to gather its signatures. The group has also vowed to disclose its finances more often than the law requires.

Because of the legal snafus with the anti-Zeanah petitions, her group took special cautions in preparing their petitions, said Kitty Radler, one of the leaders of the group Residents to Recall Fox and Lazar. Before submission, a local lawyer scrutinized the forms, she said.

“We have adhered to the law,” Radler said. “I’m not a lawyer, but we feel confident [the petitions] will be certified.”

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