The issue was a vote to amend Modesto's general plan to include Wood Colony, a farming community, which was opposed by a majority of Wood Colony residents.
The article does detail another failed recall attempt in Riverbank that is worth noting:
Riverbank voters, meanwhile, had every possible reason to recall Councilman Jesse James White and yet failed not once, but twice (2009 and 2010).
It didn’t seem to matter that the grand jury recommended White should resign because he wasn’t registered to vote when he applied to run for the council seat, or because of his arrest on drug charges during a probation search (to be on probation requires a previous conviction); the city had turned off the water to his apartment over a billing issue; and he missed numerous council meetings when the council needed to fill a vacant seat. The latter ultimately forced the city to spend $35,000 to hold a special election.
Each recall attempt fell several hundred votes shy. Of course, both came before White was convicted of two felonies (driving under the influence causing injury and resisting an Oakdale police officer) and pleaded no contest to misdemeanors (child endangerment and hit-and-run causing property damage). That likely would have been a game changer. He left the council when his term expired in 2012.