Hondo City Council recalls, Texas, 2009

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Chavel Lopez, Lucio Torrez and Virginia Gonzales were recalled from their positions as members of the City Council of Hondo, Texas on May 9, 2009[1] The recall was approved and all three council members were recalled.Approveda[2]

The organizers accused the three council members of undermining the city’s financial stability and mismanaging municipal finances.[1]

Election day investigation

Shortly after the May election federal authorities began reviewing the election and requested more details about why there was only one ballot proposition.


The three recalled city council members filed a discrimination suit against the city and want the election voided. They contend that they should have been the subject of a separate ballot proposition.[3]

  • On June 12, 2009, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, who is hearing the federal lawsuit, temporarily reinstated the three recalled city council members. The judge also canceled a July 14 election that was to elect their replacements. Hondo City leaders considered a lawsuit settlement offer that would keep the three members in office. Jose Garza, the attorney for the council members, proposed the plan which is to be discussed in a closed session on August 10, 2009. The offer includes $75,000 to be paid by the city for the council members' legal bill and also states that they are recalled a second time, they could run for the vacant positions again in the subsequent election.[4]
  • In mid-August, special counsel Rolando Rios presented affidavits from the council members being recalled. In the affidavits, the members stated that grouping them together on the same ballot hurt their chances of defeating the recall. Mayor Jim Danner stated that the actions of the counsel members and Rios were “bizarre”.
    • However, Rios countered those accusations, stating: “As the attorney for the city, it's my job to present the Department of Justice with all of the facts as we believe would add to its analysis.”[5]
  • On October 19, 2009 ruled to uphold the recall election results, therefore a special election will be held to elect replacements.[6]

See also