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How to Recall City Councilmembers?

Original post made by Government Question on Dec 16, 2013

Can anyone please tell me where are the instructions on how to recall City Councilmembers?

Where are the instructions for doing a referendum like the Maybell neighborhood?

How does my neighborhood get a single-story overlay like in Greenmeadow, where are the instructions for that?

Can someone who goes to City Hall a lot take a standup poster in my place, because I'm had it.

Comments (16)

Posted by a neighbor, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

Thank you for starting this thread.

I also want to bid goodbye to this City Council asap. With this CC the residents wishes do not matter. They act like there is a higher cause they are following but we don't know what it is.

In light of the resounding defeat of Measure D I am astonished that they are approving high density projects just as fast as they have always done.

we need to work together and save our city from becoming another Austin. If you didn't hear this story on NPR this morning here is the link to a story on what has happened to Austin.

Web Link

This sentence touched me: "Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a native Austinite, says he's watching automobile traffic slowly ruin his beautiful city."

This is what awaits Palo Alto, be it at a different scale.


Posted by Government Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This just in from a neighbor:

See Article VI, Section 1 of the City Charter, which reads as follows:

"Sec. 1. Recall.

Proceedings may be commenced for recall of any council member by the service, filing and publication of a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition. Proceedings may not be commenced unless, at the time of commencement, such council member has held office for at least six months and no recall petition has been filed against such council member within the preceding six months.

The petition demanding the recall of the council member sought to be recalled, signed by registered voters equal in number to at least twelve percentum of the number of registered voters at the last general municipal election, shall be filed with the clerk. One election is sufficient for the recall of one or more council members, but a separate petition is necessary to propose the recall of each council member.

No signature may be affixed to the petition until the proponents have served, filed and published a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition, containing the name of the council member sought to be recalled, a statement in not more than five hundred words of the grounds on which the recall is sought, and the name and address of at least one proponent. The notice of intention shall be served, personally or by certified mail, on the council member sought to be recalled, and a copy thereof with a certificate of the time and manner of service shall be filed with the clerk. A separate notice of intention shall be filed for each council member sought to be recalled.

Within seven days after the filing of the notice of intention, the council member sought to be recalled may file with the clerk an answer in not more than five hundred words to the statement of the proponents and, if an answer is filed, shall serve a copy thereof, personally or by certified mail, on one of the proponents named in the notice of intention. The statement and answer are intended solely for the information of the voters and no insufficiency in the form or substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election or proceedings. The notice, statement and answer, if any, shall then be published in a newspaper of general circulation by the city clerk.

No signature may be affixed to a recall petition until the county registrar of voters has received two blank copies of the petition and has advised the proponents in writing that the form and wording are in order.

Seven days after the publication of the notice, statement and answer, if any, by the city clerk and provided all the requirements of this section re Notice of Intention, answers, and form of petition have been met, the recall petition may be circulated and signed. The petition shall bear a copy of the notice of intention, statement and answer, if any. If the council member has not answered, the petition shall so state. Signatures shall be secured and the petition filed within ninety days from the filing of the notice of intention. If such petition is not filed within the time permitted by this section, the same shall be void for all purposes.

The signatures to the petition need not all be appended to one paper, but said petition may be presented in sections. The number of signatures to each section shall be at the pleasure of the person soliciting signatures to the same. Any qualified voter of the municipality shall be competent to solicit said signatures. Unless and until it be proven otherwise by official investigation, it shall be presumed that the petition presented contains the signatures of the requisite number of qualified voters. Each signer of said petition shall at the time of signing the petition include his printed name and his place of residence, giving street and number, and if no street or number exists, then a designation of his place of residence which will enable the location to be readily ascertained and the name of the city. A place at least one-inch wide shall be left blank after each name for the use of the clerk in verifying the petition.

Each section of the petition shall have attached to it a declaration signed by the circulator of that section of the petition, setting forth all of the following:
(a) The printed name of the circulator.
(b) The residence address of the circulator, giving street and number, or if no street or number exists, adequate designation of residence so that the location may be readily ascertained.
(c) That the circulator circulated that section and saw the appended signatures being written.
(d) That according to the best information and belief of the circulator, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.
(e) That the circulator is a registered voter of the electoral jurisdiction of the officer sought to be recalled.
(f) The dates between which all the signatures to the petition were obtained.
(g) The circulator shall certify to the content of the declaration as to its truth and correctness, under penalty of perjury, with the signature of his name at length, including given name, middle name or initial, or initial and middle name. The circulator shall date the declaration immediately following his signature.

Within fifteen business days from the date of filing such petition, the clerk shall examine and ascertain from the records of registration whether or not said petition is signed by the requisite number of electors entitled to vote, and if necessary the council shall allow the clerk extra help for that purpose, and the clerk shall attach to said petition his certificate showing the result of said examination. If, by the said certificate, the petition is shown to be insufficient, it may be amended by additional signatures within ten days from the date of said certificate. The clerk shall, within fifteen business days after such amendment, make like examination of the amended petition, and if his certificate shall show the same to be insufficient, it shall be returned to the person filing the same, without prejudice, however, to the filing of a new petition to the same effect.

If the petition shall be found to be sufficient, the clerk shall submit the same to the council without delay, and the council shall thereupon order and fix a date for holding the said election within the time set by the general laws of the state of California. Candidates for this election shall file with the city clerk within the nomination period set by the general laws of the state of California.

At least ten days prior to the recall election, the clerk shall mail to each voter a sample ballot and a separate printed copy of the statement of the proponents and of the answer, if any, of the council member sought to be recalled. If the recall of more than one council member is sought, the statement and answer for each shall be printed together and shall be clearly distinguished from those of any other council member.

There shall be printed on the recall ballot, as to each council member whose recall is to be voted on, the question: "Shall (name of person) be recalled from the office of council member?" followed by the words "yes" and "no." If a majority of those voting on any question voted in favor of the removal of an incumbent, such incumbent shall be deemed removed from office upon the qualification of the successor.

On the recall ballot, under each question, there shall be printed the names of those persons who have been nominated in the manner provided herein as candidates to succeed the incumbent if such incumbent is recalled. No vote cast shall be counted for any candidate for the office unless the voter also voted on the question of the recall of the person sought to be recalled from that office. The name of the person against whom the petition is filed shall not appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office. If the vote recalls the council member, the candidate who has received the highest number of votes for the office shall be declared elected for the unexpired term of the former incumbent. If the person who received the highest number of votes fails to qualify within ten days after receiving the certificate of election the office shall become vacant. Said election shall be conducted, returned, and the results thereof declared, in all respects as are all other municipal elections; provided, that if there be any conflict of provisions this charter shall control."


Posted by A-Recall-Starts-With-A-Single-Signature, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:26 pm

The City Clerk has a packet that includes the details for getting going on a recall. If you are interested, get one from that office.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Be careful what you wish for....

I am all for getting rid of the present CC but since we are unlikely to get any better choices, or any choices at all, unless something dramatic happens, I am wary of this.

Now, where can we get some decent, responsible people who are willing to run for CC?


Posted by questions, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

How does this compare to waiting for the next election?

Who is up for re-election, is that next November?

A year is along time though, and if the election can't really clean up some of this nonsense a recall is more to the point.

How do citizens vet options for replacements without an election process?



Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

"The City Clerk has a packet that includes the details for getting going on a recall. If you are interested, get one from that office."

DON'T TAKE ANY ELECTION ADVICE FROM THE CITY CLERK! It contains subtle flaws that, in the end, sabotage the outcome. You can imagine why.

Get real legal advice from an attorney. The Measure D backers can obviously recommend a good one.


Posted by Government Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

Just got this from the same neighbor. But what about two-story overlays?



18.12.100 Regulations for the Single Story Overlay (S) Combining District

(a) Applicability of District

The single-story height combining district may be combined with the R-1 single family

residence district or with any R-1 subdistrict. Where so combined, the regulations established

by this section shall apply in lieu of the comparable provisions established by Section

18.12.040. All applicable provisions of that section shall otherwise govern development in

the combining district.

(b) Site Development Regulations

For sites within the single-story height combining district, the following site development

regulations shall apply in lieu of the otherwise applicable site development regulations of

Section 18.12.040:

(1) The maximum height shall be 17 feet, as measured to the peak of the roof; provided,

in a special flood hazard area as defined in Chapter 16.52, the maximum height is

increased by one-half of the increase in elevation required to reach base flood

elevation, up to a maximum building height of 20 feet.

(2) There shall be a limit of one habitable floor. Habitable floors include lofts,

mezzanines and similar areas but exclude basements and exclude attics that have no

stairway or built-in access. Lofts and mezzanines include any space above the first

floor in excess of five feet (5') from the floor to the roof above.

(c) Application for a Single Story (S) Combining District

(1) Application to create or remove a single-story overlay district may be made by an owner

of record of property located in the single-story overlay district to be created or

removed.

18.12.110 Single Fam ily Individual Re vie w

(Supp. No 13 - 10/1/2007) Ch. 18.12 - Page 18

(2) Application shall be made to the director on a form prescribed by the director, and shall

contain all of the following:

(A) A written statement setting forth the reasons for the application and all facts relied

upon by the applicant in support thereof.

(B) A map of the district to be created or removed that includes the address location of

those owners whose properties are subject to the zoning request. Boundaries shall

correspond with certain natural or man-made features (including, but not limited to,

roadways, waterways, tract boundaries and similar features) to define an identifiable

neighborhood or development. For creation of a single-story overlay district, the area

shall be of a prevailing single story character, such that a minimum of 80% of

existing homes within the boundaries are single story.

(C) For creating a single-story overlay district, a list of signatures evidencing support by:

(i) 70% of included properties; or (ii) 60% of included properties where all included

properties are subject to recorded deed restrictions intended to limit building height to

a single story, whether or not such restrictions have been enforced. For the removal of

a single-story overlay district, a list of signatures evidencing support by 70% of

included properties, whether or not deed restrictions intended to limit the building

height to single story apply. "Included properties" means all those properties inside

the boundaries of the district proposed to be created or removed. The written

statement or statements accompanying the signatures must state that the signer is

indicating support for a zone map amendment that affects his or her property. One

signature is permitted for each included property, and a signature evidencing support

of an included property must be by an owner of record of that property.

(D) A fee, as prescribed by the municipal fee schedule, no part of which shall be

returnable to the applicant.

(E) Such additional information as the director may deem pertinent and essential to the

application.

(3) An application for creation or removal of a single-story (S) overlay district made in

accordance with this subsection (c) shall be processed in accordance with Chapter

18.80.

(Ord. 4869 ß 14 (Exh. A [part]), 2005)



(from City of Palo Alto website)



18.12.010 Purpos e s

Ch. 18.12 - Page 1 (Supp. No 13 - 10/1/2007)

Chapter 18.12

R-1 SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT*

Sections:

18.12.010 Purposes

18.12.020 Applicable Regulations

18.12.030 Land Uses

18.12.040 Development Standards

18.12.050 Permitted Encroachments, Projections and Exceptions

18.12.060 Parking

18.12.070 Second Dwelling Units

18.12.080 Accessory Uses and Facilities

18.12.090 Basements

18.12.100 Regulations for the Single Story Overlay (S) Combining District

18.12.110 Single Family Individual Review

18.12.120 Home Improvement Exceptions

18.12.130 Architectural Review

18.12.140 Historical Review

18.12.150 Grandfathered Uses

* Editor's Note: This chapter was revised in its entirety by Ordinance 4869. Ordinances formerly codified in this

chapter, and not specifically repealed by adoption of Ordinance 4869, include Ords. 3048, 3064, 3070, 3130, 3255,

3291, 3345, 3378, 3465, 3475, 3489, 3536, 3577, 3583, 3662, 3683, 3735, 3741, 3850, 3861, 3905, 4016, 4043,

4081, 4140, 4642, 4643, 4716, 4794 and 4826.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

"Resident" has it right. Don't go around pushing a recall election until you have a set of viable (and electable) candidates to step in. Otherwise the recall could be a huge and expensive failure.

Reality check is that membership on the Palo Alto CC is not fun - even if you are a "residentialist". CC members are constantly accused of being deceitful, called names, in pockets of developers/Realtors/unions, dense, stupid, taking bribes, etc. It is a thankless, thankless job.


Posted by Go for it!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Get a petition going to recall them. I will gladly sign it, as will every member of my large family who can vote!


Posted by questions , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Crescent Park Dad,

"membership on the Palo Alto CC is not fun - even if you are a "residentialist"."

I think it could be a lot of fun to even TRY to turn this shipwreck around.

Please No more sorry reasons for people not to run so, just so that we can get another bunch of sorry people again.

Not again.


Posted by Government Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Good points. It's a good point that it's kind of a thankless job, but these guys obviously get something else out of it because they don't have a bone of public service sense in their bodies.

If we wanted to change our City Council make up to be fewer people, but from districts around town so truly representative, and paid a salary so they were working full-time, and paying for it by eliminating staff positions that would be kind of redundant then -- how would we do that?

I wonder if we could do a kind of citizen-commando version of this, where we just all get together, divide up Palo Alto, and find our own slate of residentialist candidates from each area, and put them forward with a recall. If we were successful, those councilmembers could then make the change to the structure of the Council? Is the only other way to do it by initiative?

What about a cross-neighborhood caucus where we all get together and hash out which changes are most urgent, do a new candidate search, etc?

We could bar Councilmembers from working for developers or anyone with large contracts with the city within so many years before or after serving on Council, that might help...


Posted by Government Question, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm

The flip side is that it wouldn't be such a thankless job if they remembered they are in public service and were actually doing their jobs ...


Posted by questions , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

"I wonder if we could do a kind of citizen-commando version of this, where we just all get together, divide up Palo Alto, and find our own slate of residentialist candidates from each area, and put them forward with a recall. If we were successful, those councilmembers could then make the change to the structure of the Council? Is the only other way to do it by initiative?

What about a cross-neighborhood caucus where we all get together and hash out which changes are most urgent, do a new candidate search, etc?"

This sounds like FUN.

And how do you first get rid of Keeene?!!!


Posted by Your kidding, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm

The city council members all care deeply about Palo Alto and are all trying to do the right thing for the city. Palo Alto is a fantastic place to live. Everyone wants to live or work here. That's why rents and housing prices keep going up. This notion that the city council is ruining Palo Alto is crazy. The only pcs this council has approved are the gateway building with 6 million in public benefits and Edgewood plaza and Maybell. All the other buildings are ARB hearings were the buildings are within the zoning and the sole issue before council is whether the architecture is compatible, This is actually a very good council. They are smart thoughtful and care deeply about the city.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Your Kidding - most of the city council cares about

1) being able to spend some of the 150+ million dollar general fund budget on their pet projects

2) making a "reputation" with their special interest groups

3) protecting the neighborhood around which they live from high density housing and BMR units being pushed by ABAG.

There are other projects which did not conform to zoning: eg. recent mixed used building on El Camino exceeded the 50 foot height limit, the recent approval of a lighted sign 30 times bigger than allowed by zoning, the under parking of the Hamilton Ave project by grandfathering in a "mezzanine" to be included as part of existing space,etc.

Can you tell me the last 3 zoning variances that the council turned down?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon,I agree - go for it!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I agree - go for it!

I disagree about waiting until we have good candidates ... simply starting a move to ousting these [portion removed] ought to be enough to strike the fear of God into a few of them. Get rid of one or two and that will really show that we are serious with some followthrough. Even posting this has probably come to the attention of some of them, even if they try to laugh it off.

Just getting a new council member will put new and old council members alike on notice that if they do the wrong thing they make get the same attention and treatment.

DO NOT WAIT, SOMEONE PUT SOMETHING TOGETHER ... I THINK A LOT OF US WOULD BE WILLING TO SIGN PETITIONS AND MAYBE EVEN DO SOME WORK.

Just starting to do something will be contagious and get things rolling ... do not wait.


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