The county clerk reported no signatures were submitted by the deadline to appear on a 2022 special election ballot.
The most recent petition drive seeking to remove Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education members Laurie Lieberman, Maria Leon-Vasquez and Jon Kean from office has failed.
In an email this week, a spokesperson from the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office confirmed the effort was unsuccessful, writing: “The deadline for the proponents to submit the recall petitions with signatures was Thursday, 12/23/21. There was no submission, so this recall attempt is done.”
Spokespeople for the recall effort did not respond to requests for comment.
The effort to recall the three board members began with a petition filed in March 2021, which also targeted a fourth board member: Richard Tahvaldaran-Jesswein. That attempt was swiftly rejected by county officials due to a shortage of signatures; the second petition effort was launched in August.
“This recall is all about the Board’s failure to focus on educating and protecting its students. No matter how many times Santa Monica parents and Malibu parents remind them to focus on what’s best for the students, the board continues to ignore us,” Malibu parent Beth Lucas said in a news release when the first petition was filed. “Now, Santa Monica and Malibu parents stand together to say, ‘No more!’”
In that same press release, proponents alleged “serious malfeasance” on the part of the four board members. “Rather than focus on educating students, the board has focused on real estate purchases, construction projects, and fighting parents’ lawsuits while failing to give parents, teachers, and school staff a meaningful seat at the table,” the proponents alleged.
It was not clear why the recall effort failed, but as of Tuesday, Dec. 28, the group’s Facebook page “Recall SMMUSD School Board” had been scrubbed from the site. Other social media pages had not been updated since the summer.
At the time the first attempt was filed, Lieberman linked the attempts to the style of political discourse popularized by former President Donald Trump.
“The recall proponents are legitimizing and creating a toxic local culture by employing mean-spirited and dishonest tactics that gained ground nationally during the Trump presidency,” Lieberman said at the time. “Leaders of the recall are driven by the desire to punish existing Board members with whom they have personal, policy or political disagreements and to squeeze the School Board into changing decisions that have been made thoughtfully but with which certain people disagree.”