HAWAIIAN GARDENS — The city clerk has invalidated recall notices against all five City Council members, citing technical errors.
But two rival political factions have vowed to keep up the fight.
Joseph Barrios said he will serve new recall notices on Mayor Kathleen Navejas and her two council allies, Rosalie Sher and Venn Furgeson, at Tuesday's council meeting. Barrios started the recall ball rolling two weeks ago when he served notices on the three at a council meeting.
Within minutes, the trio's supporters filed notices against council members H. M. (Lennie) Wagner and Donald Schultze.
Both sides followed up by filing formal recall notices Tuesday with City Clerk Carol Dorfmeyer.
'This Is All a Game'
If Barrios files new recall notices, the mayor said, her supporters will do the same on Wagner and Schultze. Navejas said Wagner and Schultze had met with Barrios and others before he served the recall notices. "I'm telling you, this is all a game," Navejas said.
Dorfmeyer said the recall notices were invalid because they lacked printed names of those filing them. Under a law that became effective Jan. 1, Dorfmeyer said, recall notices must have both the printed and signed names of those filing them.
Also, she said, the statement summarizing the reason for recalling Navejas exceeded the legal limit of 200 words. And the notices against Wagner and Schultze, Dorfmeyer said, were not served personally as required by law.
"They have to start the whole procedure all over again," Dorfmeyer said.
Navejas has said Barrios' recall effort is being encouraged by political enemies of her and her husband, Carlos, a former Hawaiian Gardens mayor. Among those who encouraged Barrios, the mayor said, were Schultze and Wagner. Hours after the formal recall notices were filed last week, however, Schultze issued a statement saying he had nothing to do with Barrios and the recall but that Wagner was involved.
Denies Having Any Help
Wagner could not be reached for comment on the clerk's ruling. She previously declined all comment on the recalls.
Schultze said the mayor called to ask him to persuade Barrios to drop the recall. "If I was behind it," said Schultze, "I could end it. But I'm not behind it, so what do I do?"
Barrios, who works part time at Cerritos College, denied that anyone else helped initiate the recall effort. He said two friends, Betty Dravadahl and Gloria Valenzuela, are helping him. Barrios also said he is continuing the recall fight because he does not believe Navejas and the two council members are listening to what the city's residents want in the way of services. For example, Barrios said, the teen-agers in town want a drug counseling program.
Schultze said he doubts the recall election will occur. "Somebody has to go out there and collect all the signatures," he said. "Someone has to do the work."
Under state law, recall backers must gather the signatures of 25% of the city's 3,500 registered voters before a recall election can be scheduled.