An effort to recall Redondo Beach Councilmember John Gran, a year before he comes up for re-election, has failed, City Clerk Eleanor Manzano announced recently.
The recall petition drive against Gran, up for reelection in 2021, fell 93 signatures short of qualifying for a special election, Manzano said last week. The petition needed signatures from 2,287 registered voters in District 4, which Gran represents; that amounts to 25% of the registered-voter population in the district, Manzano said.
The firefighters union launched the recall drive after Gran opposed moving forward with a study looking at the costs and impacts of turning the city’s Fire Department over to Los Angeles County. Gran joined fellow Councilmembers Christian Horvath and Laura Emdee in voting down the study, but Gran had previously supported the first half of the report.
Gran, in a Monday, Feb. 10, interview, said he knocked on more than 5,000 doors to fight off the recall.
“I learned that I have great neighbors,” Gran said on Monday, Feb. 10. “The majority of people don’t participate or don’t pay a lot of attention, but when they found out what’s going on, they were shocked.”
Kenny Campos, president of the firefighters association, said the union was disappointed in the results.
But, he added, there was a silver lining: the city and the union are expected to come back to the bargaining table soon to hammer out a new contract.
Campos said there is a staffing shortage, with the department looking to fill six positions. Salaries are now below average, he added, and firefighters haven’t had a raise essentially in 10 years. Firefighters have been working without a contract since 2018.
“This was the first time in a long time our association has pushed back,” Campos said. “It was finally our time to say there is a true problem in Redondo and it’s time to start fixing it.”
Gran said after canvassing his district, he became more confident he took the right position. Going forward with the study would have cost the city roughly $25,000, and Gran said an initial analysis did not demonstrate much, if any, savings.
“One thing that people overwhelmingly told to me is that nobody wanted to go to L.A. County Fire in my district,” Gran said. “What I also learned on the other side is our residents want to take care of our Fire Department and make sure that they are happy.”
A special election to recall Gran, meanwhile, would have cost the city more than $55,000, the councilmember said.
“I think $50,000 or $60,000 is peanuts,” Campos said.
“If you are going to hang your hat on that,” he added, “we can start picking apart other things the city wasted money on that cost more.”
Campos also said the recall effort was never about switching to L.A. County necessarily. He said the union just wanted an honest look at the costs and possible advantages, given the impasse between the firefighters association and city officials over a new contract.
“Our stance was, we want to stay in Redondo Beach and make it right,” Campos said. “But the city showed us time and again they are not willing to work with us.”
Gran said he looked forward to restarting negotiations with the union in the weeks to come.