Kelly Ramirez, one of the proponents in the burgeoning recall effort, handed Armendariz the “notice of intention” during the public comment period of the May 16 council meeting.
Ramirez said she was presenting the notice on “behalf of the concerned citizens of Gilroy,” based on the 2021 Halloween party at Armendariz’s residence that resulted in the shooting death of one man and injuries to three others.
A city-commissioned investigation by Hanson Bridgett concluded that Armendariz violated several city ordinances when she helped organize the event. Armendariz was issued 10 administrative citations, which included violating the city’s Social Host Ordinance, which holds adult hosts or landowners responsible if they “knowingly allow such loud or unruly gatherings to occur on their premises, at their residence or at rented facilities where alcoholic beverages are served to, consumed by, or in the possession of underage persons,” and for failing to acquire a permit for the event that drew about 100 people.
Sally Armendariz, Benjamin Calderon and Domingo Armendariz were also issued four administrative citations apiece for their role in the party.
Daniel Mayfield, the attorney representing Rebeca Armendariz, said they have appealed the citations, which amount to $1,200 in fines.
City spokesperson Rachelle Bedell confirmed the appeal, and said a hearing with the city’s independent hearing officer is scheduled in July for a final ruling.
The notice of intention is an early step in a lengthy process that requires public noticing and verifiable petitioning of voters.
The 200-word notice must have 30 valid signatures to be filed with the Gilroy City Clerk’s office, and must be published in a newspaper of general circulation.
Armendariz may submit an answer to the notice within seven days of it being filed with the city.
If the signatures are verified to be from registered voters in Gilroy, proponents then need to gather signatures from 20% of the city’s registered voters in order to set a recall election. There are more than 31,000 registered voters in Gilroy, according to November 2020 statistics from the county elections office, so a petition for a recall election for a city council member would require more than 6,000 signatures.
Armendariz was first elected in November 2020, with her term set to end in 2024.
Gabriela Mendoza of Gilroy attended the council’s May 16 meeting to show support for Armendariz.
She said Armendariz has mentored her throughout her life, steering her away from gangs and drugs at a young age. Armendariz serves as a positive influence to so many young people, as well as those experiencing homelessness, Mendoza said.
“Beca saved my life,” she said. “Beca to this day motivates me, motivates so many young women here. I see Beca in her van, driving around helping the homeless, helping the Latino community, which I don’t see a lot of people in this city doing.”
Mendoza said it would be a mistake if Armendariz were removed from office.
“Gilroy needs more people like Beca here, sitting with all of you, that will speak up for those who cannot speak up,” she said. “I get it, things happen. We’re not perfect, no one is. But we need people like Beca.”
Erik Chalhoub is editor of the Gilroy Dispatch.