Alameda County officials pledge to set recall election date

The election could be as soon as Aug. 13 or as late as Nov. 5, officials said.

Alameda County officials pledge to set recall election date
Recall organizers Brenda Grisham and Carl Chan (center) flanked by supporters at a rally Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Emilie Raguso/Aipsasiamedia

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting next month to set a date for the recall election of DA Pamela Price.

The election could happen as soon as Aug. 13 or as late as the general election Nov. 5, Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis told the board.

As per Tuesday's agenda, the board had been set to accept the ROV's certification of the recall petition and agree on next steps, which is what happened by unanimous vote shortly before 6 p.m.

The board said it would hold a special meeting May 14 to set the recall election date.

County Counsel Donna Ziegler said officials had been consistent and transparent in how they had approached the prospect of a recall election, which has been described as Alameda County's first.

"No one has sued us," Ziegler said. "I just would like that to be clear."

But the threat of legal action has loomed large for months, in part due to Alameda County's antiquated recall rules, which residents voted to update in March.

Many people have said that a legal challenge from one side or the other is more than likely and that a judge will have to rule on various matters, from decisions made so far to what happens next.

Critics of the process say the ROV "cherry-picked" which election rules to follow, in some cases using the county charter and in others state law.

Those rules dictate everything from who can collect signatures to how long the ROV has to count them and how the election date is set.

Read more about Pamela Price on The Scanner.

Jim Sutton, the attorney representing DA Pamela Price and the Protect the Win campaign, told the board Tuesday that a judge should have made those decisions, not the registrar of voters.

Sutton said he had also asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to look into allegations of financial problems with a major funder of the recall campaign, a political action committee that initially called itself Reviving the Bay Area.

The FPPC has said it will investigate those claims.

Responding to the allegations Tuesday, recall campaign co-chair Brenda Grisham said her group, dubbed Save Alameda For Everyone, had followed all the rules it had been given and was separate from Reviving the Bay Area.

Supporters and critics of the embattled district attorney held dueling rallies Tuesday and made impassioned pleas to county officials during an hours-long public comment period before the vote.

Both sides had their talking points in order, with recall proponents urging officials to hold the election as soon as possible, and Price supporters saying a November election would cost less and be more democratic.

On Tuesday, the ROV said the recall question is expected to cost about $4 million as part of a general election compared to $15 million to $20 million in a special election.

The Board of Supervisors meeting room was full Tuesday, with additional speakers sent to an overflow room. Emilie Raguso/TBS

Recall supporters said no price could be put on the lives that had already been lost or otherwise impacted by serious crime.

Price supporters said that money would be better spent on services and programs to tackle the root causes of crime and inequity.

Price supporters also said the DA had become a scapegoat for people concerned about crime and that she was not responsible for larger social issues with complex causes.

Recall proponents who want to see Price replaced said she had mismanaged the DA's office, leading to an exodus of qualified staff, and repeatedly disrespected crime victims and their families.

Pamela Price recall election: What happens next?

Aside from public comment Tuesday, the recall discussion by county officials was brief, with a focus on clarifying how the process may work going forward.

In response to supervisor questions about who would be in charge of the DA's office if voters recall Price, County Counsel Ziegler said a deputy DA could lead on a temporary basis until the board appointed a longer-term replacement.

The replacement DA would then serve until the general election in November 2026, at which point candidates would run against each other to see who would serve out the remainder of Price's original term, which does not end until the November 2028 election.

(In 2022, seemingly unbeknownst to most California voters, an update to state election rules put DA and sheriff races in sync with presidential elections, giving Price and other DAs elected that year a six-year term.)

County officials said they appreciated the extensive public comment Tuesday and thanked speakers for sharing their views.

They also defended county decisions in what has proven to be a complex landscape of election rules.

"I don't think anybody's trying to hide the ball," said Supervisor David Haubert. "We're doing the best we can to follow the process."

Read more about the Alameda County recall election

CORRECTION: With the May 14 meeting planned, the earliest a special election could happen would be Aug. 13, not July 30. The story has been fixed.

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