Organizers of a campaign to recall Mayor Bob Filner appealed Friday for money and volunteers to get the issue on the ballot. NBC 7's Gene Cubbison reports.
Organizers of a campaign to recall Mayor Bob Filner appealed Friday for money and volunteers to get the issue on the ballot.
To qualify that yes-or-no question and a slate of potential successors for a special election, it'll take petition signatures from nearly 102,000 registered city voters in a 39-day time frame, barring a possible 30-day extension.
Organizers are asking businesses, organizations and elected officials who want Filner ousted to raise an army of volunteers.
"What I ask them to do, in an appropriate legal manner,” says LGBT Weekly publisher Stampp Corbin, one of three principals heading the campaign, “is have the people and corporations that are involved within gather signatures, okay? That doesn't cost anything. What that says is, they're going to gather signatures for free."
Besides the sexual harassment scandal surrounding the mayor, the recall organizers cite a laundry list of causes related to his management of city government and activities over eight months in office.
They say they won't be surprised if legal challenges and issues are filed on his behalf.
In an interview recorded Friday for Sunday’s edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking”, Corbin called out the City Council – seven of whose nine members have directly called for Filner’s resignation.
“Each one of them has an organization that helped them get elected,” he said. “So I would hope they would engage their organizations to collect signatures."
Later, Corbin and his recall campaign co-chairs told reporters during a news conference on Civic Center Plaza that they're also soliciting donations from Filner critics, to hire paid signature gatherers -- who have to be registered city voters themselves.
There's already an ad on Craigslist offering jobs at $15 to $20 an hour.
The campaign's Facebook page has nearly 9-thousand "likes" and 6-thousand comments posted.
But August vacations and September back-to-school days may be a sketchy time frame to hit the streets with petitions.
"Even if they mobilize, even if everybody gets all enthused or whatever, there's a big difference between this and a normal initiative type,” political consultant John Dadian – who has no connection to the recall – told NBC 7.
“That is, the short time period, and the big mountain of signatures. I don't see any way that it will successfully get on the ballot without paid signature gatherers."
And veteran civic observers say there are mixed motives among the city’s disaffected constituents that may have to be reconciled.
Says Carl Luna, political science professor at San Diego Mesa College: "The current issues with the mayor are making for some strange bedfellows between Republicans who want him gone, or Democrats who just want to get rid of him so they don't have to deal with the fallout. How they can work together on a recall effort is problematic."
It's not atypical for citywide initiative campaigns to run up a million dollars in petition costs.
Citywide special elections can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If this campaign makes the ballot but fails to remove Filner, no other bid can be filed for six months.
August 18th is the recall campaign's target date to roll out recall petitions, once Filner files a response to their notice of recall and they publish it -- or, if he fails to respond in a timely fashion.
Neither the mayor nor his aides have responded to repeated requests for comment over the past three weeks, including Friday.