Judge finds Grover Beach clerk illicitly rejected recall petitions

May 23, 2024


A San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge on Thursday found that Grover Beach City Clerk Wendi Sims violated the law in her rejection of recall petitions for Mayor Karen Bright and councilmen Daniel Rushing and Zach Zimmerman.

Sims refused to approve recall petitions unless certain statements she found false or misleading were removed from the petitions. Grover H2O, Debbie Peterson and Brenda Auer then filed a lawsuit that argued the Constitution and California’s election laws forbid election officials from engaging in this type of unilateral censorship.

While clerks have a ministerial duty to stop false or misleading information from the ballot, clerks need to file a legal challenge in court, according to Judge Craig van Rooyen’s ruling.

“There is no legal authority which allows an elections official to make determinations regarding the veracity of statements in a recall petition, the city has a ministerial duty to approve, and allow circulation of, the April Recall Petition,” according to Judge van Rooyen. “It violated section 11042 when it failed to do so. The Court further finds that issuance of a writ under section 13314 to remedy that violation will not substantially interfere with the conduct of the election.”

Also in his seven page ruling, Judge van Rooyen noted several cases where petitions have been rejected for fatal errors such as type set size, spacing and similar issues. In those cases, even though the courts found the recall petitions did not actually comply with that section, “the courts determined they were nevertheless valid under the doctrine of substantial compliance.”

On five different occasions, City Clerk Wendi Sims rejected the recall petitions claiming they include statements that are either false or misleading:

  • “Dan Rushing voted to make Grover Beach the industrial area of Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande.”
  • “Dan Rushing approved a project to tear up newly repaired residential streets for 16 wells, a mile of pipelines, and a wastewater treatment plant in Grover neighborhoods.”

The city clerk rejected Bright’s recall petition because of language and Zimmerman’s recall petition because it did not include an answer from Zimmerman, who allegedly missed the statutory deadline.

City Clerk Sims sent each  rejection notice on the last possible day and within minutes of the close of business hours:

  • First submission made on Jan. 25, rejected Feb. 5 at 4:55 p.m.
  • Second submission made on Feb. 7, rejected Feb. 20 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Third submission made on Feb. 29, rejected March 11 at 4:56 p.m.
  • Fourth submission made on March 21, rejected April 1 at 4:46 p.m.
  • Fifth submission made on April 4, rejected April 15 at 4:53 p.m.

Even though the suit noted issues with each recall petition, because both Bright and Zimmerman are up for election in November, the suit focused on Rushing’s recall petition.

Judge van Rooyen ordered Sims to allow Grover H2O to circulate the recall petitions.


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Speaking of crooks and Grover..was John Shoals just allowed to skate free?

Goodbye Karen Bright. You are and have been only a tool for Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill to manipulate. If legal troubles come your way, it will surprise me not.

So… “Grover Beach City Clerk Wendi Sims violated the law”. Years ago that was called a crime. It appears to be six counts not including any conspiracy charges. Is she now subject to criminal prosecution? Or… does she enjoy some sort of ethereal immunity?

Clerk should be convicted. City Manager, Assistance City Manager and Mayor should be placed on probation.

Word on the street is that a couple of investigations are underway.

The immunity she enjoys is courtesy of DA Dan Dow and that he is known not to seriously go after those in the protected class. The best the residents can do is replace Mayor Bright and Council members Zimmerman and Rushing. Thats the only way to get the city manager fired for incompetence and in turn replace Wendi Sims. Not sure the recent talk of an elected city clerk position will work, and if it does that will takes years given how slow government works. Wendi Sims needs to be fired now and city manager likely won’t do that because odds are she violated the law at the direction of the city manager, who in turn got his orders from the mayor and council.

More nonsense from the elected plutocrats in Grover Beach.

This is a dishonest organized crime syndicate posing as a organized government, and citizens deserve better than City Clerk Wendi Sims impeding the democratic process on her own whim.

“When the people fear government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is freedom”. -Thomas Jefferson

Superior Court, not Supreme Court

Hats off to Ms.Peterson and Ms.Auer for pushing back against this sneaky overpaid bureaucrat who has forgotten that the citizens pay her salary. Van Rooyen finally did his homework and got the ruling right.

Time for a new City Clerk in Grover!

So now first a question needs to be asked of City Clerk Wendi Sims, “Did anyone direct you to take the actions you did?”, if her answer is No she did it on her own, then she must be fired and replaced, if her answer is Yes she needs to answer who and that person if not elected needs to be fired or if elected needs to be recalled.

Yes, because if it was collusion one has to ask, is this a RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) matter?