By Emily Rasmussen

The petitions for the recall of San Juan Capistrano City Councilmembers Kerry Ferguson, Pam Patterson and Derek Reeve have been withdrawn, the city confirmed on Thursday, April 19.

Since late 2017 when petitions for recall began, a heated debate took center stage in San Juan Capistrano. With days left for signatures to be collected, the petitions for all three recalls fell short.

“The City Clerk’s office has confirmed that the recall efforts for Councilmember Ferguson, Councilmember Patterson and Councilmember Reeve have been withdrawn by the proponents for lack of sufficient signatures,” Assistant City Manager Jacob Green said.

Petitions to recall Ferguson and Reeve received approval from the City Clerk on Dec. 21, and the petitioners attempting to recall Pam Patterson received approval on Dec. 22. All three petitions focused heavily on development-related issues, the recall petitions for Reeve and Ferguson are directly related, using the same verbiage regarding the proposed River Street project on Los Rios Street.

The proponents had 120 days to collect the signatures of 20 percent of the city’s 19,227 registered voters—3,845 residents—for each petition. The recalls for Ferguson and Reeve had until Friday, April 20 to gather signatures and the recall for Patterson had until Monday, April 23.

If the recall petitioners succeeded in collecting enough signatures, the City Clerk’s office reported that the cost for an at-large special election would have ranged from $95,000 to $106,000. Many who spoke against the recalls noted the cost as a factor, in addition to City Council elections coming this November, in which all Ferguson, Patterson and Reeve’s terms will be up.

Ferguson said she believes the recall primarily failed because it was “based from the beginning on misrepresentations.”

“Residents recognize that I do my homework on issues and work hard to discern the truth of each situation that confronts us,” Ferguson said. “By doing so, I’m often able to bring to the dais facts and insights that my colleagues haven’t considered. In a number of cases, it has made all the difference in the decision-making of the City Council. I am proud of what I have accomplished so far, and there is a great deal more needed to prepare us for a great future. With the best interests of our city at heart, I look forward to continuing to serve our residents.”

Patterson was not immediately available for comment.

“Anytime people are fueled by irrational anger, and armed with only lies, their cause is inevitably doomed to failure,” Reeve said. “This is a great town with a great future. What’s done is done, it’s time to move forward.”

Reeve also announced on Facebook on Monday, April 16 that he is running for reelection this November.

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