I am not going to tell you how to vote; this site is neutral.

    However, if you already have an opinion about the Office of City Attorney, or the existing candidates, I am going to run through a few scenarios.

    As my reader(s) know, I worked for the City of San Bernardino as a Deputy City Attorney from February 2001 to January 2006. I first met the current City Attorney of the City of San Bernardino, James F. “Jim” Penman somewhere between 1988 and 1990 at the home of the late attorney Richard R Beswick.  I first met recall candidate Timothy “Tim” Prince in 1999 while either volunteering or working at Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, Inc.  Though I have worked as an attorney in San Bernardino since 1998, I have never met recall candidate Gary Saenz, nor had any legal work associated with recall candidate Gary Saenz. I have heard the name before, but I do not know Gary Saenz, nor do I know his reputation.  At all.

    I have checked the Internet today, and as far as I can tell, there is no website for the incumbent City Attorney, James F. “Jim” Penman, and as far as I can tell, that includes Twitter, email and Facebook.  I do not know the strategy of City Attorney Penman in defeating the recall.  I have not been directly contacted by City Attorney Penman regarding the recall in any capacity.

    Similarly, I have not seen City Attorney recall candidate Timothy Prince in person, I believe, this year.  We have not discussed the recall.  I do not think we have discussed City politics since the 2011 election at the second City Attorney debate at Arrowhead Country Club.  While he invited me to his congressional announcement in Mentone when he ran against Jerry Lewis, I do not believe that I have ever been invited to any other Tim Prince election event.

    The State Bar gives the following information about Mr. Prince, City Attorney Penman and Mr. Saenz:

    Gary David Sanez, State Bar Number 79539, is an active member of the State Bar of California, admitted on April 28, 1978 and active from that date on.  His undergraduate school was San Diego State University, San Diego, California, and his law school was University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law.  He has no public record of discipline, and no public record of administrative actions.

    City Attorney James Frank Penman, State Bar Number 91761, is an active member of the State Bar of California, admitted on May 30, 1980, and active from that date forward. His undergraduate school was California State University, San Bernardino, and his law school was Western State University College of Law. He has no public record of discipline, and no public record of administrative actions.

    Timothy Peter Prince, State Bar Number 151245, is an active member of the State Bar of California, admitted on December 11, 1990, and active from that date on.  His undergraduate school was the University of California (Berkeley), and his law school was University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He has no public record of discipline, and no public record of administrative actions.

    The recall is a procedure under the Charter of the City of San Bernardino. In this case, sufficient numbers of registered voters city-wide signed recall petitions to put the recall measure on the November 5, 2013 ballot, which is also a Primary Municipal Election for San Bernardino.  San Bernardino City Charter Section 122 gives the following information about what is on the ballot:

    The ballots used when voting upon said proposed recall shall contain the
    words “shall (title of office and the name of the person against whom the recall is
    filed) be recalled?” and the words “yes” and “no.”

    I have seen neither the ballot nor the sample ballot, but it should read “Shall City Attorney James F. Penman be recalled?”

    Voters then have the option of voting yes or no by drawing a line to complete the arrow next to their choice.

    Next, Charter section 122 states:

    Qualified candidates to succeed the person against whom the recall is filed,
    shall be listed on the ballot, except that the incumbent shall not be eligible to
    succeed himself/herself in any such recall election.
    In any such removal election, if a majority of the votes cast is for “yes” on
    the question of whether or not the incumbent should be recalled, the candidate
    receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. The incumbent
    shall thereupon be deemed removed from the office upon qualification of his/her
    successor. In case the party who received the highest number of votes should fail
    to qualify within ten (10) days after receiving notification of election, the office shall
    be deemed vacant. The successor of any officer so removed shall hold office
    during the unexpired term of his/her predecessor.

    In this election, two candidates have qualified, Gary D. Saenz and Tim Prince. From the language of the Charter, there does not appear to be any ability to write-in a candidate. Should the majority of votes (that is, fifty percent plus one) be to remove City Attorney James F. Penman, then the person who has the highest amount of votes between Gary D. Saenz and Tim Prince will be the winner.  If there is a tie, then the tie-breaking rules of the Election Code would probably prevail.  If neither of Gary D. Saenz nor Tim Prince failed to qualify within ten days after election, then the office would be vacant and would be filled according to the Charter.  Examples of failing to qualify is if City Attorney James F. Penman were recalled, and if either Gary Saenz or Tim Prince had more votes, but moved out of San Bernardino, or lost his license to practice law, he would fail to qualify.

    So, how should you vote in the recall election for City Attorney?

    IF YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. PENMAN

    If you are satisfied with the performance of City Attorney James F. Penman, or in the alternative, if you are supportive of Jim Penman as a leader, you support Jim Penman’s world view, policy choices, approaches, you should vote “No” on the issue of the recall.

    IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. “JIM” PENMAN, BUT DO NOT LIKE RECALLS, OR DO NOT LIKE THIS RECALL

    If you are not satisfied or dissatisfied by City Attorney Jim Penman’s performance, but you do not like the concept of recalls, then you should vote “No” on the issue of the recall.

    IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. “JIM” PENMAN, HAVE NO ISSUES WITH RECALLS, BUT DO NOT LIKE THE PROPOSED REPLACEMENT CANDIDATES

    If you are not satisfied or dissatisfied by City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman, have no issues with the concept of a recall, but do not want either Tim Prince or Gary Saenz to be the elected City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino until the next election in 2015, then you should vote “No” on the issue of the recall.

    IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. “JIM” PENMAN, HAVE NO ISSUES WITH RECALLS, BUT LIKE TIM PRINCE, BUT NOT GARY SAENZ

    If you are dissatisfied or not satisfied with the performance of City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman, or you don’t like him personally, or his policies, or his staff, or you don’t like how he handled a particular matter, or you just want to punish him, and you like Tim Prince, but you don’t like Gary Saenz, then you should vote “Yes” on the issue of the recall, and for Tim Prince. You can only vote for one replacement candidate, and if you mark both Tim Prince and Gary Saenz, you will invalidate your ballot.

    IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. “JIM” PENMAN, HAVE NO ISSUES WITH RECALLS, BUT LIKE GARY SAENZ, BUT NOT TIM PRINCE

    If you are dissatisfied or not satisfied with the performance of City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman, or you don’t like him personally, or his policies, or his staff, or you don’t like how he handled a particular matter, or you just want to punish him, and you like Gary Saenz, but you don’t like Tim Prince, then you should vote “Yes” on the issue of the recall, and for Gary Saenz. You can only vote for one replacement candidate, and if you mark both Tim Prince and Gary Saenz, you will invalidate your ballot.

    IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. “JIM” PENMAN, HAVE NO ISSUES WITH RECALLS, BUT CANNOT CHOSE A REPLACEMENT CANDIDATE, OR DISLIKE BOTH GARY SAENZ AND TIMOTHY PRINCE

    If you are dissatisfied or not satisfied with the performance of City Attorney James F. “Jim” Penman, or you don’t like him personally, or his policies, or his staff, or you don’t like how he handled a particular matter, or you just want to punish him, but you cannot pick a replacement candidate, then you should vote “Yes” on the issue of the recall, and you should either pick the what in your mind is the lesser of two evils between Gary Saenz and Tim Prince, OR you can undervote the replacement candidate portion of the ballot.  That is, you pick neither Tim Prince nor Gary Saenz.  Then you can say that you voted to recall City Attorney James F. Penman, but that you are not responsible for electing either Tim Prince or Gary Saenz.  As long as they qualify, one of them has to win, as long as they get one more vote then the other.

    IF YOU VOTED NO ON THE RECALL OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. PENMAN, AND LIKE NEITHER OF THE RECALL CANDIDATES

    This is trickier.  If, despite your no vote on the recall, City Attorney Jim Penman is recalled, it is almost mathematically certain that one of the two replacement candidates will be the next City Attorney of the City of San Bernardino.  The only thing stopping them is if neither of them gets a vote (which is unlikely, because they would likely vote for themselves) or neither qualifies after being elected (which is unlikely). As far as I can tell, any write-in vote will not qualify and will not be counted, and there is always the possibility that it will invalidate your ballot. However, perhaps as a protest vote, someone could write-in a name, that would only come to light if there was an election challenge, like in the Minnesota Senate race where someone wrote in a vote for the Lizard People while simultaneously voting for Al Franken. The other option is to undervote, and then claim that the total number of people voting on the recall question does not equal the amount of votes for the replacement candidates, thus showing that their election was not legitimate, in order to challenge the replacement candidate before the next regular primary election, and in the next regular primary election. If you like to get into arguments on the Internet, this may be the choice for you.

    IF YOU VOTED YES ON THE RECALL OF CITY ATTORNEY JAMES F. PENMAN, AND LIKE NEITHER OF THE RECALL CANDIDATES

    Not as tricky.  You can undervote as described above as a protest (non-)vote.  You can use random chance to pick either Tim Prince or Gary Saenz.  You can possibly invalidate your ballot with a write-in that won’t be counted.

    ANY OTHER OPTIONS?

    You can undervote both the recall and the replacement.  You can vote just for a replacement and undervote the recall.  You can not vote at all so as not to dilute the votes of informed voters.  Ultimately, you alone must chose your path. Even though you have strong opinions as stated above, you can vote against your own interests.  You can vote based on national partisan issues in this non-partisan local election.  You can vote only on this recall issue, and no other issues on the November 5, 2013 ballot.  The choice is yours.

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