Petitions filed to recall Riverbank councilman

Riverbank City Councilman Jesse James White during a city council meeting, Monday evening.
June 7, 2010
(BART AH YOU/ Riverbank City Councilman Jesse James White during a city council meeting, Monday evening. June 7, 2010 Modesto Bee

RIVERBANK -- A group trying to remove City Councilman Jesse James White from office has turned in paperwork to put a recall election on the ballot.

Riverbank Citizens for Fair Change submitted petitions with the signatures of registered voters to city officials late Tuesday afternoon.

The city clerk's office was counting how many of the signatures can be included. A signer must include his or her printed name and full address on the petition for the signature to be counted.

The recall group needs at least 2,185 signatures that meet that test to move to the next step -- having county officials verify that the signatures are those of registered city voters.

City officials still were checking the petitions Tuesday night and could not be reached for comment.

White was philosophical when reached by phone.

"I don't want to look too much into this until the signatures are verified," he said. "And either way, I'm going to continue to serve the citizens of Riverbank to the best of my ability for as long as they will have me."

Leaders of Riverbank Citizens for Fair Change did not return phone calls Tuesday.

The group mounted its recall effort against White, 21, after his May arrest on drug possession charges. Sheriff's deputies say they found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in White's apartment and vehicle during a probation search. A judge ruled there is enough evidence for White to stand trial.

White has been a lightning rod on the council since his November 2008 election. A civil grand jury report last year recommended that he resign because it said he was not registered to vote when he applied to run for the council.

He also has bickered with council members and city staff.

Riverbank Citizens for Fair Change had 90 days to collect at least 2,185 signatures, which is 25 percent of the city's voters, to move forward in the recall. Tuesday was the deadline for turning in the petitions.

City Clerk Linda Abid-Cummings said the Stanislaus County clerk-recorder's office has 30 days to verify that there are at least 2,185 valid signatures on the petitions.

If that proves to be the case, the City Council will have 14 days to call for a recall election, she said.

The recall ballot will include the names of the candidates who want to replace White if he is recalled. Abid-Cummings said the city has 88 to 125 days to hold the election after the council calls for it.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at or 578-2316.