Drive to recall Morro Bay mayor fails

January 17, 2014
Jamie Irons

Jamie Irons

An organization that attempted to launch a recall election of Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons failed to collect the number of signatures needed to do so.

Morro Bay Forward had until 5 p.m. Thursday to collect 1,754 signatures on a petition to recall Irons. The group of Irons opponents came close to obtaining the total needed but fell short, according to a Morro Bay Forward press release.

The organization launched the recall effort after Irons attempted to fire Morro Bay’s city manager and city attorney in September. The employment dispute then spanned several city council meetings, culminating with City Attorney Rob Schultz resigning in November and City Manager Andrea Lueker resigning earlier this month.

Irons never stated a reason for attempting to terminate the top two executives, and their severance packages prohibit Schultz, Lueker and the city from discussing the matter.

Had Morro Bay Forward collected signatures from 1,754 registered voters, which amounts to 25 percent the city’s electorate, a recall election would have occurred, likely in June.

Morro Bay Forward spokesman Bill Pierce said in the press released that recall drive failed due to poor timing.

“The shorter daylight hours at this time of the year and holiday travel made it difficult to find enough registered voters at home,” Pierce said. “We are confident that if we had attempted the recall in the spring we would have been successful.”


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Recall efforts fail almost 95% of the time. We are just apathetic and it takes too much effort to get rid of a bad politician. Too bad for Morro Bay. The other fact is, that government employees can sit at their jobs for a decade or more doing nothing before we the public realize that there is an issue. Someone once said, that it takes at least 5 years to realize you hired a poor mid-level manager, however during that time a lot of financial and personnel damage is done. Time will only reveal the issues even further.

Not sure of your intent. Would you like to hire a lobbyist to spend another $2 million on a losing proposition?

Yes, and time will reveal that the election of Irons, Christine Johnson and Smukler is the best thing to happen to this town in decades.

No one likes recalls but to say the recall failed because the people of Morro Bay support Irons and his agenda is foolish. There is an election just around the corner and if he survives it then you can crow all you want.

Now that’s some serious spin doctoring!

Theres no spin doctoring there, if at election time the cue ball wins then jump up and down,but what are you gonna do if the city decides to oust this looser.

Accept the wishes of the electorate. I know, strange concept.

Oh yes there is. The recall effort failed. Yes, FAILED. Your attempt to make it appear that it didn’t is a classic example of spin doctoring.

You might want to stock up on Depends for June. Please note, this is the 21st century.

Well, the voters have spoken, especially those who were given a chance to sign a recall petition and decided not to do so. I cannot believe that Irons and the Morro Bay electorate did not recognize the damage to the finances of all homeowners and renters and businesses which will come from FAILING to LEARN from the fiasco of Los Osos and the EXTREME cost of moving the waste water treatment plant. You Morro Bay people are going to pay future monthly costs in the hundreds HIGHER for the Irons actions, just a factual outcome of moving not upgrading a sensible downslope WWTP location.

It is just amazing that, after all the communications from the CCC, a few people still don’t understand that we would NEVER, EVER have been allowed to build that plant at the beach – and for good reason. It’s not a safe place to build critical infrastructure.

Interesting to read that the pro-recallers state they had 1,600 signed petitions but did not turn them in because it was under the magic number of 1,754. No one will ever know how many signed petitions they DID get, since Bill Peirce states in his news release “to keep those who did sign from becoming possible targets for retaliation, all of the petitions will be destroyed.” That is much better if he had stated “Sorry. My dog ate my homework.”

The fact that the pro-recallers were so secretive and fact-bungling it would be difficult for anyone to figure out what their goal was. Their bullying tactics did give them a loud and offensive presence during public comment at the MB City Council meetings, but the majority of MB citizens did not buy into it. To state that they fear retaliation is a bizarre statement, since no one from the Stop the Recall group ever threatened any one of them personally, the Stop group just continually presented the facts to debunk the untruths and myths put forth by the pro-recall group.

Hopefully, now that there will not be a recall election, the mayor and council will be able to do their jobs and continue to work for the better future that the majority of the voters overwhelmingly chose them for.

I think you’re spot-on, MajorityFan. If they’d gotten anywhere near the 1,600, you know they’d be waving it in our faces to show us how close they got. I doubt they got 1,000 sigs, and I believe it was obvious from the beginning and it took the steam right out of them.

I agree. I would imagine they had less than 500… and that is counting the signatures from the nursing homes.

Like Majorityfan, I agree. I think it would have been well under 1,000. I knew they must be absolutely desperate when I heard a couple of weeks ago that George Leage was actually out trying to get signatures.

maybe a new day for Morro Bay,

now lets carry on!

What was interesting is that prior to Xmas someone on the anti-recall site actually published a photo of some signatures on the recall petition,. I believe it was under the guise of how to go about getting your name removed. It may also have been in relation to Neil Farrell’s signature. Either way, those names were displayed

That was clear and simple intimidation of those people who signed and were afraid of any retribution.

WTF? Why should anyone be afraid to sign a petition? Considering the attackers launched the recall and felt so self righteous, sign it. It is a case of the bullies launching an effort and then going all chicken shit. If you have a conviction, proudly stand up for it.

Its very simple-If you are one of the hundreds of small business people who make their living here-your name on that petition will impact your ability to feed your family. This happens when you are told that your business will be blackballed if people know you signed the recall. Believe me when I tell you that there are hundreds of business people who live hand to mouth in this town.

If your income is derived form a job outside Morro Bay or you are on fixed income, it is very easy to be self righteous. Its something else when your stance can impact your ability to survive. That is why there was so much discussion about the names becoming public. People can afford to lose friends, but they cannot afford to lose their income. Live with it, it is reality!!

I guess I’m missing something. I watched small business owner after small business owner get up and publicly urge people to sign that petition. Not to mention the ten or so businesses in town that had petitions AT THEIR BUSINESSES, presenting them for customers to sign, as if it was a given that they would, or the city councilman/business owner going around soliciting signatures publicly. What about the people (even the self-righteous fixed-income ones) that couldn’t go into these businesses for fear that THEY would be labeled, blackballed, stigmatized, or have their clam chowder spat into? I agree that such petitions should not be public, but the pro-recallers didn’t seem to have any problem with this publicity until it failed.

Yes there were some who made their points at the meetings. Remember there are hundreds of businesses in town who remained absolutely silent on the matter (Publicly). I do believe that you watch too many bad movies “clam chowder spat into”!?!? Please!

But do I believe that people will try put you out of business because of your stand on this matter?

Let me ask you a question.

How is it that you can quote how many businesses had petitions at their business? I would bet that you could probably name them also.

No, I just know people that work in restaurants. But what movie did you see that in? I’ll Netflix it. How many people threatened to blackball business owners that signed the petition? I would bet you could name them.

That is just so silly. The people who fought the recall are not the sort who would try to intimidate or harm anyone.

On the other hand, the group that pushed the recall are a different story. Their constant insults and attacks, including their hostile rants at Council meetings, scared people who wanted to speak at the meetings but were frightened into silence. There were even complaints made to the police about it.

The only names displayed were the names on the original recall petition, and those names are public record.

Signers of the First Recall Petition and Their Party Affiliations

William Peirce, REP

Ronald Burkhart, REP

Coy S. House, DEM

Gary L. Owens, REP


Hank Roth, IND

John W. Lewan, DEM

Gayle B. Bickford, REP

Richard Grantham, REP

Joseph T. Attinello, REP

Danny R. Costley, REP

Lupe G. Sylvester, REP

Roland A. Kessling, DEM

Bridgett M. Kessling, DEM

Brenda Fennacy, REP

John E. Fennacy, REP

Joanne H. Tobias, REP

James R. Tobias, REP

Meredith Fennacy, REP

Linda L. Donnelly, REP

Justine J. Thomas, REP

David L. Thomas, REP

Maureen Kispersky, DEM

Gretchen Kehler, DEM

Edward James Sylvester, REP

Phillip Kispersky, REP

James Searby, REP

Thomas Pauley, REP


John P. Fennacy, REP

(Listing from City Clerk’s and County Clerk-Recorder’s offices. They are a matter of public record.)

The fool for a mayor damaged his own reputation.

From the outside looking in, the fools seemed to be those who said the majority of the city wanted the mayor gone and then they couldn’t even get 25% of the voters to sign the petition, and only had flimsy excuses, it’s a holiday, it gets dark early, yada, yada, yada,

Of course it failed. It was a nasty, vindictive attack launched by a group of people who are still mad that they lost power in the June, 2012 election, and that their last means of controlling City government, Schultz and Lueker, were removed.

Their negative statements about Irons were all complete nonsense. Some of the recallers appear to be very skilled at lying and/or totally out of touch with reality and truth, and they fooled some residents into signing. As time goes by, those residents will come to understand that they were duped. Thank goodness not enough of them were fooled to allow this ridiculous vendetta against Irons to succeed.

And I’m sure that’ll all be covered in the next issue of The Bay Society Page, through the coverage of its Managing Editorialist N.F. – right mbactivist1?

Most likely ;)

What a shame. There goes the neighborhood.

So we know that at least 80% of Morro Bay thinks Morro Bay Forward is full of it. Will they now fade or will the Mayor sue them for damaging his reputation? Love the saga our small area brings me. :) TGIF people, it’s all a joke.

Reasons the Recall Failed:

Not only because spring sprang late this year, and the days are not as long as they used to be, and treacherous winter road conditions kept us from canvassing Morro Bay’s vast 7 square miles of hardscrabble terrain. Not only because our little knuckles got cold in the chilly December air, knocking on all those expensive doors up on Nutmeg, Juniper, Panorama, Zanzibar, and Tuscan (way up north – way up high in elevation). Not only because we forgot about Morro Bay’s traditional Yule-exodus of registered voters. Not only because Irons supporters and The Tribune still believe their votes matter. Not only because teletype machines sometimes crash and torch-fuel sometimes run out – not only …

Schmadam Schmill (Morro Bay Schmorward)

Nice parody of Adam Hill’s goofy ramblings,slophocles :)