OAKLAND (CBS 5) — The Oakland City Clerk has approved a petition to recall Mayor Jean Quan, allowing supporters to gather signatures from voters.

The group has until May 14, 2012 to file nearly 20,000 signatures to place a recall on next November’s ballot.

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Quan’s approval ratings have taken a beating lately over her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests. Several city officials have resigned, including Vice Mayor Sharon Cornu, Police Chief Anthony Batts and City Attorney John Russo, along with Quan legal advisor Dan Siegel.

A group of disgruntled Oakland residents, led by Gene Hazzard, are leading the recall effort. The group filed the recall petition in late October. After several weeks of legal review, City Clerk LaTonda Simmons approved Hazzard’s petition on Wednesday.

“We need just under 20,000 valid signatures,” said Charles Pine of the recall campaign. “We know the signatures are out there. Only thing we have to do is reach those people one by one, till we get 20,000.”

Petitioners accused Quan of incompetence, citing everything from escalating crime to her handling of the protesters.

“I have expectations about the City of Oakland, how its run and what it means to live here,” said Oakland resident Ben Goldstone. “I just think that Jean Quan really screwed that up.”

But others are worried about the recall effort.

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“I don’t support recalling her. I don’t know what that would do and I don’t know who we would replace her with,” said resident Calon Yoder.

“You have to let the system work and stick with the person you have in there rather than devote a lot of resources that the city doesn’t have,” said resident Mitch Bostian.

On Wednesday night, Quan issued this written statement:
These have been very tough times with many different challenges—the recession, the encampments—yet Oakland is on the move and we are making progress together. I became Mayor less than a year ago. In that time I have pulled together a strong executive team, balanced the budget with a full reserve for the first time in nearly a decade, and held town hall meetings with over 3000 Oakland residents.

The last thing we need is a divisive and expensive recall election.

In 20 years of serving Oakland, my only agenda has been to work hard for our diverse city. I consider it a sacred trust.

Oaklanders know me as a woman of action, fighting hard and delivering results.

I am focused on working for Oakland—the 100-block initiative to reduce crime in Oakland, creating jobs and encouraging investment in Oakland’s business, and supporting our youth and our schools.

I had a great meeting with the Oakland Metro Chamber and other business leaders today, I’m focused on bringing in business. I also met with several community organizations. My energies are focused on jobs, public safety and education to move the city forward—doing my job as Mayor.

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