Millbrae Recall targets council members who did not oppose affordable housing projects

The vote went through and the other councilors sent the letter (PDF) without Cahalan’s and Goodman’s signatures. The letter said the city council was “disappointed in the way San Mateo County has handled the proposed project,” and criticized the board of supervisors for not notifying them before the decision.

Although Calahan has not publicly stated his position on the affordable housing project, Goodman has said he supports the project and has been an outspoken advocate for the homeless community.

The recall effort is being led by residents who feel their concerns about safety and the project’s financial feasibility fell on deaf ears by the two council members last fall. Removing Cahalan and Goodman is necessary “to preserve the safety and well-being of our community,” according to the statement revoke the organization’s website.

The San Mateo County Democratic Party supports the two council members and called the recall effort an inappropriate use of city resources.

“We believe that recalls should not be used as a tool to oppose council members who take positions that some people don’t agree with,” April Vargas, a member of the party’s central committee, told KQED. “If people don’t agree with what councilors are doing, they can wait until they are up for re-election in 2026.”

Ballots for the special election have been sent to voters, who have until July 23 to decide whether to recall the council members.

The city is also in the middle of a lawsuit over the proposed purchase of the La Quinta hotel, claiming the Board of Supervisors did not give Millbrae residents a chance to weigh in under a 1950s provision of the California Constitution, known as Article 34, which gives local voters the right to decide on all affordable housing projects in their city.

San Mateo Superior Court Judge Nancy Fineman dismissed the case in late June, declaring it “unripe” for a decision because the county had not specified whether the funding would come from Project Homekey or other affordable housing subsidy programs. Her decision did not mention Article 34.

“The city believes the county is taking an action at La Quinta that is out of compliance,” said Sam Singer, Millbrae spokesperson. “(The city) is considering its options to respond.”

Earlier this year, lawmakers flirted with putting a constitutional amendment to repeal Article 34 on the November ballot, but withdrew the measure last month because of how costly the campaign would be. The provision, long criticized as discriminatory, has been a notorious scapegoat for delaying affordable housing, and several attempts to repeal it have failed.

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