Over 650 signatures were submitted to Stanislaus Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan on Thursday, Nov. 10 demanding the recall of Oakdale Irrigation District Division 4 board member Linda Santos.
Santos and fellow board member Gail Altieri have been embattled since taking office after the November 2015 election ousting longtime representatives Frank Clark and Al Bairos. In that time the two women, who campaigned on a platform of transparency in the district, have been criticized for providing confidential information to opponents in lawsuits and putting the special interests of friends and campaign contributors ahead of the constituents of the district.
In June, lawyers for the district attempted to exclude Santos and Altieri from certain closed door sessions seeking a temporary restraining order to keep them from strategy talks surrounding litigation. In October a Superior Court judge allowed the directors back into the sessions ruling “that sufficient grounds do not exist to impose the broad preliminary injunction sought by Plaintiff (OID) here.”
Lundrigan reported that 660 signatures were filed in the Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters office by the proponents.
To qualify for a recall, signatures from 25 percent of the district’s 1,683 registered voters are required for the process to move forward with a recall election. The election office calculated the number of valid signatures required at 421.
“I’m excited that we made our goal with more than enough signatures,” said Deanne Dalrymple who had first served Santos with the recall notice back in August. “I’m hopeful that the next few months when we go toward the recall, both sides will be civil. We’re all neighbors together.”
Dalrymple pointed out that even though Santos was elected with only 278 votes, her group was able to gather 660 signatures with some Santos voters deciding to sign the petition.
“The court decision aside, this recall is based on her current decisions and actions she’s making,” Dalrymple said. “Over and over we’re seeing decisions being made and we’re not agreeing with them.”
Santos and Altieri have frequently been on the dissenting end of 3-2 votes at meetings by a divided OID board for agenda items such as water sales and transfers.
“I ran and was elected on the promises of bringing transparency and honesty to OID,” Santos said when contacted. “As long as I am on the board I will keep those promises – regardless of whose feathers I might ruffle.”
In a Nov. 10 press release Lundrigan stated the office has 30 days from the date of filing of the petition, excluding Saturday, Sundays and Holidays, to determine whether the petition is signed by the required number of voters, certify the results of the examination and notify the proponents.
Due to the recent election, officials are inundated counting more than 60,000 provisional ballots remaining from the Nov. 8 presidential election. The petition signatures will be verified after the election count is complete.
If the petition qualifies, Lundrigan stated the most likely date an election can be called would be on an available election date of Tuesday, May 2, 2017.