Monday, January 2, 2012

Texas: New Braunfels City Council refuses recall petitions for Council member

The New Braunfels City Council rejected the recall petition against Councilman Bryan Miranda, calling the petition "baseless" and "frivolousness." Last week, the petition was handed in with enough valid signatures to get on the ballot for a May recall vote. It is unclear -- and very doubtful -- that the council's actions will stop the recall from occurring.

We are seeing City Councils attempting (and failing) to throw up roadblocks to recalls after the signatures have been handed in. In Maine, the Berwick Selectment Board failed to schedule a recall for three members. The rules there just force the Town Clerk to schedule the recall.

We also saw the same attempt to stop a recall in Jasper, Texas. The case resulted in state and federal lawsuits, and an inevitable recall vote (2 of 3 members were removed).

Obviously, there may be a political value to delaying the recall, but hard to believe that the council's actions will stopped the recall from occurring.


Dist. 1 Councilman Richard Zapata abstained from voting, as did Dist. 5 Councilman Bryan Miranda (who was the subject of the recall). The decision to reject the results of the petition is coming under some scrutiny though. Councilman Zapata’s decision to abstain was out of concern that the decision violates the city’s charter. In fact, the charter says that after a valid recall petition is submitted (with the proper number of verified signatures) that Council has a “duty” to call for a special recall election, unless the council person in question resigns.
To be clear, the charter doesn’t stop City Council from rejecting the petition, but it also doesn’t provide any guidance as to the reasons that Council can reject what is often referred to as a “right” of citizens to recall their representatives as part of the democratic process.
So although Council may have rejected the petition, at least for now, they may still be forced to call for a special recall election in order to stay in compliance with local law. And there’s still plenty of time to sort all of that out. If there were to be a recall election, it wouldn’t happen until May, which is the next regular city election.
For much more on Council’s decision to reject the petition, be sure to tune in today at 12:30 for the Monday’s with the Mayor Show with Mayor Gale Pospisil. That’s today at 12:30 here on AM 1420 or streaming live online at kgnb.am.

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