Supervisor looks to raise bar for recall efforts

Voters could decide this November whether they want to make it more difficult to recall a member of the Board of Supervisors.

City law requires residents to gather signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters in a district to put a recall measure on the ballot. A charter amendment by Supervisor Jake McGoldrick would raise that percentage to 20 percent.

Last year a recall effort against McGoldrick, the Distrct 1 supervisor, failed to gather enough valid signatures — about 3,500 were required. The effort was spearheaded by business owners and residents of his district,who largely feuded about such initiatives as creating a transit-only lane on Geary Boulevard and the closure of roadways in Golden Gate Park on Saturdays.

A recall effort against Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin also failed last year because it failed to provide consistent reason to the Elections Department why he should be removed from office.

“This has been abused in recent years,” McGoldrick said during a Board of Supervisors Rules Committee hearing Friday. “I think the threshold is extremely low.”

McGoldrick said he had to raise money and campaign against the recall in his district.

David Heller, president of the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants Association, was a proponent of the recall effort. He said district residents should have the right to turn to the recall process if they feel an elected official is “not listening to the people who elected them into office — and not just listening, working with them.”

Supervisors on Friday amended the legislation to mirror state recall rules that set the percentage of signatures needed based on how many registered voters thereare in the elected official’s jurisdiction.

For example, in a jurisdiction with 100,000 or more registered voters — a citywide election —valid signatures from 10 percent would be needed for a recall. For a jurisdiction of at least 1,000, but no more than 50,000 — which describes the vast majority of supervisors’ districts, city officials said — the number of signatures required would be 20 percent.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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