Recall chatter takes tepid turn

COSTA MESA — The post-election discussion regarding whether to recall newly reelected Councilwoman Wendy Leece appears to be losing steam.

Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, who first floated the idea as something that should at least be discussed, said he doesn't have the time or the desire to mount a recall against Leece.

He did, however, say he would support such a move.

No one else has stepped forward publicly asking to recall Leece, who was the second-highest vote-getter after Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer in the Nov. 2 election, but the idea has been discussed in Republican leadership circles.

The Republican Party of Orange County is unhappy with Leece for voting to renew employee contracts and terms for the next four years. The vote was split, 3 to 2.

Despite securing about $7.2 million in savings for the next two years with the new contracts, the GOP expected better bargaining from the employees, something members hoped Righeimer would do once on the City Council.

Leece is a Republican. She had sought and received her party's endorsement.

Leece said Costa Mesa residents must think she's doing a good job or they wouldn't have elected her to a second term.

She doesn't believe that voting to renew the contracts merits recalling her, she said.

A recall would require the signatures of at least 15% of the city's registered voters.

The cost would depend on when the election would be held, said Julie Folcik, the city clerk.

A "stand-alone" recall election that took place without being part of another city vote could cost the city up to $250,000, Folcik said.

The cost would drop if the election is consolidated with another within the city's jurisdiction, she said.

Once the numbers of signatures are certified, a call for an election would take place and the election would have to occur within 88 and 125 days afterwards, Folcik said.

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