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Effort to recall mayor fizzles

Chris McEvoy says he's giving up trying to collect the petition signatures needed to start the process to oust Righeimer.

May 03, 2013|By Bradley Zint
  • Jim Righeimer
Jim Righeimer (Don Leach, Daily…)

The Costa Mesa resident behind an effort to recall Mayor Jim Righeimer said Friday that he will not have enough signatures by the deadline to bring his petition to voters.

Chris McEvoy needed 15% of the Costa Mesa electorate — or more than 9,000 voters — to sign his petition by May 15.

“It's kind of fizzled out,” he said. “I'm not gonna get the signatures.”

McEvoy's grounds for the recall stemmed primarily from his anger at Righeimer's approval, when he was a councilman, of an agreement between Costa Mesa and the developer of Banning Ranch. The $4.4-million agreement was designed to help improve roads to accommodate the expected increase in traffic to the proposed West Newport development.

McEvoy has contended that Banning Ranch, and by extension the agreement, will lead to a decreased quality of life for Costa Mesa residents, such as more cut-through traffic on the Westside, loss of quiet streets and increased spending by Costa Mesa on its roads leading to Banning Ranch.

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McEvoy declared his recall during the public comments section of the Oct. 16 council meeting. By December, he had created his petition and hosted an open-door gathering that attracted about a dozen supporters and curious parties to his Westside home.

Though the recall petition was directed first and foremost at Righeimer, McEvoy said at the time that it could be “considered a symbolic recall” of then-Mayor Eric Bever and Councilmen Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger. On July 17, the four voted in favor of the Banning traffic agreement.

McEvoy, a high school math teacher, would not say how many signatures he gathered, but said the people he met during the process were nearly universal — 20 to 1, he said — in their opposition to Banning Ranch.

“People are very opposed to this development,” he said, adding that most had “no clue” about “the monstrous development, the traffic it's gonna create, how our elected officials stand on it.”

The proposed mixed-use project is slated to have 1,375 homes, a hotel, commercial properties, parks and open space. Though it would be in Newport Beach and therefore out of Costa Mesa's jurisdiction, some of Banning's street entry points would pass through Costa Mesa's Westside — a long-standing point of contention for critics and some Westside residents.

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