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Ed Lee Recall Effort Starts Slowly 

Wednesday, Jun 1 2016
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Though it feels like ages ago, it was only January when protesters interrupted Mayor Ed Lee's inauguration for a second term with screams for him to fire then-police Chief Greg Suhr.

Now that Suhr is gone, some of the same activists (and some political opportunists) are taking aim at Lee with a recall campaign.

Rarely attempted and even more rarely successful, a recall may still pose a real risk to Lee, who was reelected with a less-than-impressive 56 percent of the vote against a field of unknowns and has "enjoyed" poor polling ever since. That is, if the recall ever gets on the ballot. State and local law requires that a politician be in office for six months before a recall effort can be mounted; since Lee was inaugurated only six months ago, Department of Elections officials have informed petitioners that they cannot begin collecting signatures until July.

Petitioners, including the Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition and former Lee challenger Francisco Herrera, have vowed a lawsuit, but they may do better to save the money for the campaign. To qualify for the ballot, a recall election needs to collect valid signatures from 10 percent of registered voters — or about 44,718 voters. That takes time and money, and so far, no moneyed labor union or financier has appeared as an angel investor.

Even if a grassroots petition campaign is successful, there's the recall campaign itself. Though he appears vulnerable, Lee would still be the heavy favorite in such a fight for the city's life. Dianne Feinstein easily survived a recall vote in 1983, and the recall has yet to claim a serious victim in San Francisco.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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