Councilwoman avoids recall after campaign against her falls thousands of signatures short

The Long Beach city clerk’s office announced Wednesday that the effort to recall Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce had fallen short after concluding the verification process of more than 9,000 signatures submitted by the group looking to remove her from office.

A group of Second District residents formed late last year with the goal of replacing the councilwoman, whom they said had disgraced the city through her relationship with her former chief of staff and a resulting ethics investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The group also alleged that Pearce failed to represent residents’ interests during her first 18 months in office.

To remove her through the recall process, the group needed to collect 6,363 valid signatures of registered voters in the Second District, but the city clerk’s office said only 4,815 signatures out of the 9,050 submitted were found to be sufficient.

More than 1,500 of the signatures belonged to people who didn’t live in the district, the clerk’s office said, and another 1,280 were from people who were not registered voters. Another 771 belonged to people who had signed the petition more than once.

Ian Patton, a political consultant who headed the effort, told the Post last week that the validity issues were attributable to the Friends of Long Beach political action committee it teamed up with.

Despite the recall effort failing, Patton said the residents are claiming a moral victory in their belief that the campaign has irreparably harmed Pearce’s political career going forward. Pearce was censured by her council colleagues earlier this year for her conduct since taking office in July 2016.

Pearce said she was working on a statement Wednesday afternoon.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.