Deadline Missed; Gibson Recall Halted

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

December 4, 2023

The North County-driven effort to recall Dist. 2 County Supervisor Bruce Gibson has been terminated by the County Clerk-Recorder, after the recall proponents committed a procedural SNAFU and the Clerk-Recorder ended the effort and possibly returned a sense of sanity to what was shaping up to be a seriously odd election.

County Clerk-Recorder Elaina Cano on Nov. 15, terminated the effort to recall Gibson. “The termination of the recall process was the result of the petitioner missing a deadline per California Elections Code,” reads a news release from Cano’s Office.

The “Committee to Support the Recall of Supervisor Bruce Gibson,” as the proponents called themselves, served Gibson a “Notice to Recall” at his Cayucos home on Oct. 27, and Gibson filed an official response with the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office on Halloween, wherein he sharply criticized the recall effort.

“On Oct. 31,” Cano’s news release said, “Supervisor Gibson issued an answer to the recall proponents’ filing of an intention to circulate a recall petition. Section 11042 requires the proponents of a recall effort to submit two blank copies of the petition to be circulated, along with proof of publication of intent ‘at least once in a newspaper of general circulation,’ within 10-days of that answer.”

That meant the clock was ticking as of the 31st and time ran out on the recall. “The deadline,” the release said, “for the Clerk-Recorder to receive the blank copies and proof of publication was Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. The petitioner did not attempt to file them until today [Nov. 15].”

But it might not be over yet. “By law,” Cano’s release said, “the recall proponents are entitled to initiate a new recall effort should they choose, but they must begin the process again from the start.”

Estero Bay News queried the recall committee as to their future plans but did not get an answer before deadline. 

If the issue is indeed dead, it brings to an end a potential election mess in 2024, as the people who would be able to sign a recall petition and then vote on it, would come from the Dist. 2 electorate used in the 2022 elections, and not the current Dist. 2, which came into existence earlier this year.

In 2021, the redistricting map approved by Supervisors took Morro Bay and Los Osos, plus a sizable chunk of SLO out of Dist. 2 and split them into a new Dist. 3 (Morro Bay and SLO) and 5 (Los Osos). All five Supervisor Districts were dramatically changed and Gibson picked up Atascadero, San Miguel and part of Templeton for the Dist. 2 2022 elections. He won that election by 13 votes.

So the recall, which was launched by people from those North County areas, would have been in the hands of people that Gibson no longer directly represents.

Adding to the boggle, those same people would then be able to vote for Dist. 1 or 5, and would have been able to decide Gibson’s fate. Cano’s termination of the recall, if it holds, would end all this and set the Supervisor elections right again.

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