Friday, September 17, 2021

California: Sonoma County District Attorney survives recall vote

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has defeated the recall (so far, 101,269-25,400) or 79.5% against. There were two write-in replacement candidates (the leader has 258 votes). 

The recall effort was led by the owner of two senior care homes where 20 residents were abandoned in a fire when staff fled. The Oakmont Senior Living company settled for $500,000. The petition attacks Ravitch for ignoring fire safety issues. Ravitch has already announced that she is not running for reelection.

There was significant spending issue in the recall effort. Developer Bill Gallagher and his daughter are reported to have spent almost $800,000 on the recall effort, which is way over the county's limit of $3350 for individual contributions (there is no limit for a state recall effort, but county's are able to put forward their own limit). Gallagher's lawyer claims the law is unconstitutional and has said that such laws have been struck down in other jurisdictions in the state. Ravitch elected not to sue to stop the recall on these grounds.

Petitions handed in over 43,000 signatures. 32,128 were validated, and they needed 30,056. The recall is estimated to cost between $600,000-$900,000.

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