"There's no transparency," Brenda Vazquez, who is leading the effort, told FOX40. "You work for us. You know? This is our tax money. Listen to us!"
The city clerk on Tuesday said the recall effort can begin gathering signatures.
"When you have a group of 200 people come and speak on a night and say, 'This is not what we want,' but the council goes and votes it through, don't you think we're going to get tired of that?" Vazquez said.
She accuses the Stockton City Council of spending money recklessly and accuses Tubbs of being disrespectful toward citizens who speak at meetings.
"He's right in front of you and you're talking to him and he's got his head down, writing, because he doesn't want to listen to whatever you're giving to him," Vazquez said. "If it's not something that he wants, he'll keep his head down or he'll roll his eyes, or he's texting on his phone."
The criticism comes just over a year since Tubbs took office as mayor. In the 2016 election, he won with more than 70 percent of the vote, beating out incumbent Anthony Silva and became both the youngest and first black mayor in the city's history.
Tubbs responded to the recall effort, saying he supports accountability and transparency but believes recalls are reserved for the highest betrayals of the office -- not just differences in opinion on policy.
Vazquez and her team now have 160 days to collect 16,000 signatures.
She's confident they will meet that goal.
"I believe we're going to get way more than that," she said.
If Vazquez is successful in gathering the necessary signatures with enough time to get on the June or November ballots, the cost to the city could be $200,000. If the recall effort heads into 2019, the city would have to hold a special election that could cost around $800,000.