Thursday, October 10, 2002
Justices Allow South Gate Recall Processing to Proceed
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court has rejected a request by officials in the city of South Gate to stop county elections workers from processing recall petitions.
The court without comment late Tuesday issued an order declining review of a Sept. 30 Court of Appeal decision to allow the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office to begin the verification process.
The Supreme Court has through next week to accept review of the Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the papers’ validity. The court held that the format of the papers substantially complies with the Elections Code despite variances in the typeface.
The recall documents had been locked since March in a county office pending the Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that first upheld the recall petitions.
Recall proponents are trying to oust city Treasurer Albert Robles, Mayor Xochilt Ruvalcaba, Vice Mayor Raul Moriel and Councilwoman Maria Benavides.
The registrar-recorder is doing the verification, rather than South Gate’s elections official, attorney Julie Sylva, because of action by the state Legislature. Sylva was named elections official by the targeted council majority, in place of City Clerk Carmen Avalos, said to be aligned with recall proponents.
Secretary of State Bill Jones has called South Gate’s process unreliable.
“The voters of South Gate confront some of the most serious allegations of official misconduct and voter intimidation I have ever seen,” Jones said in a statement yesterday. “This action by the court removes the legal obstacles and will allow the process to continue to a recall election itself.”
Attorneys in the proceeding were Los Angeles sole practitioner Nate G. Kraut for the recall proponents, Donald Paul Johnson of the Los Angeles firm of Beltran and Medina for Avalos, and Mitchell C. Tilner of Encino’s Horvitz & Levy for Sylva.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company