The Calimesa Citizens for Responsible Development’s petition of intent to recall longtime Calimesa Councilman Jim Hyatt was approved Wednesday, Dec. 9, election official Darlene Gerdes confirmed.
The group will need to collect and verify at least 930 signatures from registered voters in Calimesa by Feb. 7, 60 days from when the notice was approved, in order to hold a recall election. A proponent must have signatures from at least 25 percent of registered voters in the city in order for a recall election to take place.
Since Feb. 7 falls on a Sunday, and with Calimesa city offices closed on Fridays, the proponents will have to turn in the signatures by Thursday, Feb. 4.
“It’s quite a tight window,” said John Gates, a member of the recall group, on the time frame to collect signatures.
Gates said the group is aiming for a little more than 1,000 signatures because they are expecting some “fallout.”
“If somebody signs a petition, they must sign it exactly as they sign to vote,” Gates said, explaining what qualifies as a valid signature.
“People should contact their Registrar of Voters to find out how they have signed,” Gerdes, who is also the city clerk, said as a suggestion.
The mobile home communities of Rancho Calimesa, Sharondale and Plantation on the Lake, along with single-family home developments JP Ranch and Singleton Heights will be canvassed first to collect signatures, Gates said.
Those communities also have seemed the most vocal at city council meetings against Hyatt and the building of warehouses in Calimesa.
Calimesa Citizens for Responsible Development argues Hyatt does not represent the interests of the residents of Calimesa anymore.
In its notice of intent to recall Hyatt, it also points out the public outcry demanding council’s action to prohibit very large warehouses in Calimesa has been delayed many times by Hyatt’s actions.
Hyatt, who is serving his fifth four-year term, was served a notice of intent to recall him before the Nov. 2 city council meeting.
Hyatt had seven calendar days to answer the notice of intent to recall him and defend his voting positions.
“I think maybe if you take the time to read it and really understand what I’m saying, you’ll understand that I’m not for warehouses,” Hyatt said of his response, which must be circulated with the petition to collect signatures for a recall.
After Christmas, Gates said the proponents will expand their area to collect signatures and set up tables with banners on public sidewalks in Calimesa’s business district, near Stater Bros, Trails End Shop- ping Center and Walgreens.
“We’ll be looking at primarily Saturday,” said Gates, about when the signature tables would be set up.
Once the signatures are verified by the county, then the recall petition goes before city council to determine a date for a recall election.
If the proponents cannot collect enough signatures and still want to recall Hyatt, the process would begin again with Hyatt getting served a notice of intent to recall, Gerdes said.