Home / LATEST NEWS / End of an Era: Calexico City Council Ousts Ureña and Manzanarez After Recall Election Victory

End of an Era: Calexico City Council Ousts Ureña and Manzanarez After Recall Election Victory

-Editorial

In a decisive action marking the end of the most controversial era in Calexico’s political history so far, the City Council officially accepted the results of the April 16 Special Election, thereby removing Raul Ureña and Gilberto Manzanarez from their positions.

Manzanarez and Urena left the city council chambers shortly before the council voted for the certification to the delight of the supporters of the recall who celebrated their victory. Even when parts of the meeting became contentious at times, this was the last chapter of a recall saga that started last year. Upon leaving Urena insisted that the recall was fueled by transphobia and wished good luck to the new council who said in a sarcastic tone that now “things in Calexico will magically improve.”

“There are still people in this community that want to segregate the Spanish-speaking community and that is racist,” Urena said. “I have confidence that the new Council will fix Calexico by the end of the year.” 

Councilman Camilo Garcia called for unity and healing and emphasized the importance of moving forward together as a community. His call for beginning resonated with many residents eager for change and transparency in local government.

“We will look for answers that this community needs. We need to cross aisles and shake hands, we don’t have to be friends but we have to respect each other,” Garcia said. 

The acceptance of the election results culminates in a process that began on November 16, 2023, when proponents filed recall petitions against Council Members Ureña and Manzanarez. Following meticulous verification of signatures by the Imperial County Registrar of Voters, both petitions garnered sufficient support, leading to the scheduling of a recall special election.

On December 6, 2023, the City Clerk presented certificates of sufficiency to the City Council, affirming the qualification of both recall petitions for the ballot. Subsequently, on December 20, 2023, the City Council took the necessary steps to set the stage for the April 16, 2024 special election.

The Special Municipal Election held on April 16, 2024, provided Calexico voters with the opportunity to voice their opinions on the tenure of Council members Ureña and Manzanarez. Following the completion of the vote canvass by the County of Imperial Registrar of Voters, it was confirmed that both officials have been recalled from the City Council.

The recall attempt against Council members Urena and Manzanarez united a coalition of community members, local business owners, and political figures who are deeply concerned about the direction of Calexico under their leadership. This group argued that the council members’ policies are detrimental to the local economy and the overall quality of life in the city. They argued that the push to reduce funding for essential services like police and public safety is especially harmful, creating an environment that is less secure and less attractive for business investment. 

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