Hanford City Clerk, Jennifer Gomez, approved the Petition for Recall aimed at Councilmember Francisco Ramirez. City approval came on June 21, giving the recall supporters 60 days to get 853 signatures.
All signatures must be turned in to Gomez’ office by August 21 before 5pm.
According to Hanford resident Skip Athey, the goal is to get the signatures in Gomez’ office in 30 days. He says the group already has 43 people to pound the pavement but he is hoping to recruit 60.
“This is good for all Americans as it give voters a chance to vote with all information available, it’s good for Ramirez too because he says he did nothing wrong and the voters will find out if he tells the truth. Let the voters decide,” said Athey.
The Petition for Recall was submitted by Lou Martinez, a former mayor who lost his seat to Ramirez in 2014.
All signatures must come from Ramirez’ City Council District D. There are 3410 registered voters in the district, and 853 represents 25% of those voters.
If supporters of the recall hand in the required amount of qualified signatures on time it would then be up to the city council to set the date for a special election. The opposition might at that time field a candidate in case the recall is successful.
Ramirez has stated from the beginning that he does not believe the group will get the needed 853 signatures.
“The only way I think they will get them is if they lie.”
Ramirez posted a video on his Facebook page Sunday evening that delves into the background of why a certain group of Hanford residents want Ramirez out of office. In the video he says that former Hanford Mayor, Dan Chin was his campaign manager.
As campaign manager, Chin had Ramirez sign off on his Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) paperwork. At the time Ramirez did not realize that the forms were incomplete or not filled out correctly.
After Ramirez and Chin ran a successful campaign, Chin asked Ramirez to consider firing City Manager Darrel Pyle. Ramirez said that he would definitely fire Pyle if he was doing a terrible job, but in fact discovered that Pyle “was doing a wonderful job.”
After Ramirez informed Chin that he was not going to fire Pyle, Ramirez received a letter from the FPPC stating that he is under investigation for faulty paperwork.
Ramirez added that if all the accusations leveled against him by those organizing the recall were true he would be in jail.
Ramirez said that he will be following up with more documents to support his innocence.
“I’m going to show proof that they are all lies,” he said.
Mendes Bows Out
In other Hanford news, Councilmember Justin Mendes will not be seeking re-election in 2018. Mendes is a vocal opponent of restrictions to business.
Mendes was elected to represent district E in 2014. He currently serves as the District Director for Congressman David Valadao.
According to the Hanford Sentinel, Mendes said, “I have decided to not run again next year,” he wrote in an email Thursday. [I’ve been] spending too much time at [City Council] meetings after normal times and my family needs to come first.”