Proponents for the recall of Oceanside Council member Kori Jensen filed their petition with the town clerk on Friday with more than 6,000 signatures, offering a solid margin of safety over the minimum requirement for 4,485 validated names.
“The signatures are on their way to the electoral office,” said city clerk Zeb Navarro on Friday afternoon. “You have 30 working days, excluding public holidays, to verify the signatures.”
When the minimum number of valid names is reached, the county officials will present the Oceanside Town Clerk with a “Certificate of Appropriateness.” Then the city council has 14 days to meet and call a special election that could be scheduled for February or March.
A special, standalone election is required as the California state primary is due in June, which is too late by law and is expected to cost about $ 700,000 in the city, Navarro said.
District 1 voters answer two questions, just as they would when the district governor was dismissed, once the signatures are validated. The first question will be whether or not to call Jensen back. The second will be which candidate to replace it.
Anyone elected to succeed Jensen would stay in office for less than a year but could run for re-election in November 2022.
The council named Jensen 3-1 in January as the first choice of more than 30 applicants to fill the less than two years remaining in District 1, vacated by the election of councilor Esther Sanchez as mayor in November. Sanchez turned down the appointment, saying the city should hold elections.
Soon after the appointment, questions arose as to whether Jensen was a legal resident of the county, her background, and her qualifications for the job.
“More than 20 percent of District 1’s registered voters signed the petition,” Recall proponents said in a statement released Thursday by the Let Oceanside Vote group.
“Petitioners’ dismissal signatories expressed their frustration with councilors Peter Weiss, Christopher Rodriguez and Ryan Keim who voted for Jensen’s appointment without proper financial or background checks,” the group said. “They criticized the councilors’ support for someone with little experience or contact with District 1 issues.”
One of the biggest problems was where Jensen lives. In her application for council appointment, she gave an address on North Pacific Street as her place of residence. However, the house there has been listed as a vacation rental for years, and the county’s tax records indicated that they gave a Carlsbad house as their primary address.
Jensen said in a text message Thursday that proponents of the recall “lied about me” to get people to sign the petition.
“They lied that I didn’t pay my TOT tax, I don’t owe TOT tax,” she said. “I owe some back payments, but my property tax has been paid. I work with the appraiser and pay the fines. Oceanside closed the vacation rentals during the COVID and I lost a lot of money. I’ll catch up, I’m not worried about that. “
She emphasized her deep roots in the district she oversees.
“I bought my Oceanside house in 2003 and have lived in Oceanside since 2008, including as a kid,” she said. “My parents graduated from Oceanside High School and both grandparent couples not only lived in Oceanside, they also owned successful businesses here.”
Two of the councilors who voted for their appointment, Ryan Keim and Peter Weiss, have since said that Jensen was not honest with them in their first interviews and that they reconsidered their decision.
“The situation is very disappointing and has distracted us from the serious challenges facing our city,” said Keim in a text message on Friday.
“MS. Jensen’s undisclosed issues with her primary residence and financial situation highlighted shortcomings in our appointment process that we need to improve so that we do not put future council in a similar position,” said Keim.
Only one city council member, Christopher Rodriguez, said this week that he continues to support Jensen.
“Kori stepped in to represent her district and has worked hard to ensure that the city provides essential services to residents,” Rodriguez said via email. “And as a Latina with deep roots in Oceanside, she has a strong understanding of the needs of the neighborhoods she represents.”
Jensen said her maternal grandparents were from Mexico and her paternal grandparents were from Wisconsin.
“I am sure that voters will oppose this political game,” said Rodriguez.
Only registered voters residing in District 1, the city’s northwest quadrant, would be eligible for re-election.