Ross Mirkarimi recall would make most sense next November

I’m enjoying party season in San Francisco, except for the fact that I’m asked routinely about whether Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is going to be the subject of a recall.

Honestly, I don’t know.

I do know that several groups are considering it and they are very aware that a special election for a recall would be vulnerable to the argument that the whole process is a waste of money. Elections aren’t cheap; they cost about $4 million. So the smarter move would be to combine the recall election with a regular local election. The next one is Nov. 5, when we are scheduled to vote on the city attorney and treasurer.

As you might imagine, there are all sorts of timelines and funky procedural hoops that a recaller would have to jump through, but assuming a Nov. 5 election date, here is the general timeline for a recall:

  • Dec. 24: Submit proof of service of notice of intent to file a recall petition on Mirkarimi. The recallers have to serve Mirkarimi with notice and allow him time to answer, then get the petitions approved by the Department of Elections, a process that takes about 24 days.
  • Jan. 15: Date to begin collecting signatures, assuming the format of the petitions is approval by the department.
  • June 24: Deadline to submit signatures for approval by department. The number of signatures must equal 10 percent of the number of registered voters on the date the notice of intent is filed (the
  • Dec. 24 date in our hypothetical example). Ten percent of San Francisco’s registered voters, as of today, is 50,284.
  • July 23, 2013: If the signatures are approved by the Elections Department, it will then order a consolidation of the recall with the local Nov. 5 election.

The election itself would not be a “recall and replace” event; it would be a “recall-only” event. If the recall were successful, Mayor Ed Lee would appoint Mirkarimi’s replacement.

There. Now you can enjoy the party.

Melissa Griffin’s column runs each Thursday and Sunday. She also appears Mondays in “Mornings with Melissa” at 6:45 a.m. on KPIX (Ch. 5). Email her at mgriffin@sfexaminer.com.

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