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    Ballots mailed out in Santa Ana recall election
    • October 21, 2023

    Santa Ana residents in Ward 3, the north and northeastern part of the city, are receiving their mail-in ballots and voter guides for a recall measure asking if Councilmember Jessie Lopez should be removed from office.

    The recall effort gathered enough signatures earlier this year to force the public vote; Ward 3 voters now have until Nov. 14 to cast their ballot.

    Lopez’s term ends in November 2024. If she is recalled, it would be up to the City Council to appoint someone to finish the term, or they could call another special election to fill the seat.

    The recall effort, led by the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, accuses Lopez of “defunding the police” and supporting “destructive policies that have encouraged landlords to raise rents,” according to its statement in support that is included with the voter guide. It also lists her opposition to a 2021 ordinance targeting street racing and support of an “outrageous hike” to fees charged housing developers.

    “The Police Officers Association, yes, has been at the forefront, but they’re not the only people that are behind this. There’s a lot of grassroots people that are behind this recall. The issues are not just about the police,” Tim Rush, chair of the recall effort, said. “She’s completely out of sync with her ward, along with, I think, a majority of people in the city.”

    Rush said the recall effort against Lopez is driven by her stance on issues such as rent control, public safety and police funding.

    “I would just encourage people to think carefully and to make their selection,” Rush said. “You need to stop and ask, ‘What has Jesse done for our ward? What has she done?’ And the reality, is she’s she’s done next to nothing.”

    Lopez, who voted in favor of rent control and establishing a police oversight commission, said that from the very beginning of her term there have been unjust expectations placed on her for being a young woman of color.

    “I don’t come from a political dynasty. I wasn’t supported by any party. I didn’t receive any developer money. I grew up in a working class household,” Lopez said.They thought, ‘How is this young Latina going to add anything of value?’ And I think we’ve been able to prove a lot of people wrong and defy some of those very negative stereotypes.”

    Having grown up in Santa Ana, Lopez said she ran for City Council because of frustrations that the voices of her community were not being heard by the city leaders.

    “I was always told growing up that if I had any grievances that there was a process in place for me to follow, which was come to the council and let your voice be heard. And we learned very early on that in this city that was not the case. Our voice was not going to be respected,” Lopez said. “That’s really why it was so important for for me, and so many people that supported me in 2020, to give this a try, because we knew that no matter how much research we presented to the council, how many community members came to the council, we did not have people out there that were 100% invested in seeing our community flourish in an equitable way for all Santa Ana families.”

    Some of her highlights as a member of the council, she says, have been her work in getting pubic streets repaired, ensuring sidewalks are ADA compliant, adding amenities to public parks and adding more street lights for the safety of the public.

    “Even when the council said there was no money, my job is to go and find it. And I did that for our residents,” Lopez said. “That was based on many conversations that we had with the neighborhood and what they wanted to see.”

    Both Lopez and Rush encouraged residents to participate in this special election.

    Rush said voters should ask what Lopez has done for their ward. The answer, he says, is close to nothing.

    “Ward 3 residents need to decide if they want special interests to continue running their city,” Lopez said. “Or if they want people that were born and raised in the city that know it very well, that understand all of the complexities and the needs of their community to help make those policies that will impact Santa Ana families in a much better way.”

    Voting centers will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 4-10; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 11-13; and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 14, at the OC Health Care Agency’s Public Health Learning Center, 1729 W. 17th St., and at the OC Registrar of Voters, 1300 S. Grand Ave.

    Secure ballot dropboxes are also available for walk-up at the OC Health Care Agency center, for drive-thru at the Orangewood Foundation, and for walk-up and drive-thru at the OC Registrar of Voters. The ballot drop boxes are open 24/7 until 8 p.m. Nov. 14. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 14 and received within seven days.

    More information on the voting guide and options can be found at

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    ​ Orange County Register