Backers of mayor recall can begin gathering signatures

The Long Beach City Clerk has approved the petition to recall Mayor Robert Garcia, clearing the way for signature gathering to begin Sunday, campaign leader and local activist Franklin Sims announced.

Sims said in a statement that the effort is due in part to Garcia’s “immoral leadership” following the May 25 death of George Floyd. Sims, among other things, has criticized the mayor for his financial support from the Long Beach Police Officers Association, the union that represents local police.

“Now that we have the City Clerk’s blessing we will fight to end the curse of injustices our Mayor has led,” Sims said.

Garcia did not respond to a request for comment.

Sims announced his recall effort during a June 16 demonstration outside the council chambers.

For the recall effort to move forward, 10% of the city’s registered voters must sign the petition, which means the campaign to recall Garcia requires 26,503 verifiable signatures within 160 days. Over the last few weeks, Sims has encouraged protesters to register to vote, which is a requirement for signing the petition.

Sims has repeatedly stated that his petition will be under extreme scrutiny, so he is hoping to collect 30,000 signatures to make up for any that may be deemed ineligible. Updates on the effort will be posted to his website, he said.

Since the death of Floyd in Minneapolis in late May, Sims has emerged as a leading voice during protests calling for police reforms. Sims has been active in Long Beach politics since 2016, when he campaigned against Measure A, a sales tax increase to fund infrastructure and public safety efforts citywide.

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.