San Antonio Mayor and City Council recall, Texas (2014)
The effort has specifically targeted Mayor Julián Castro and council members Diego Bernal, Rebecca Viagran, Rey Saldaña, Shirley Gonzales, Ray Lopez, Cris Medina and Ron Nirenberg. It is not targeting Ivy R. Taylor, Elisa Chan and Carlton Soules. After the original recall campaign stalled, a renewed push was made by a group called Restore SA to recall Bernal. This effort was launched in January 2014.
Bexar County Conservative Coalition was leading the recall effort. The effort originally only targeted council member Diego Bernal. Recall supporters were upset over a non-discrimination ordinance Bernal was promoting; the ordinance included protections for people in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. Recall supporters argued that the ordinance would infringe on rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Bernal stated, "I'm a constitutional lawyer, I may not agree with things you say, but I'll defend your right to say it. We can balance that with our non-discrimination policy. We have before and will continue to do that."
The city council approved Bernal's non-discrimination ordinance on September 5, 2013 in an 8-3 vote. Recall supporters, upset over the result, decided to expand the recall effort to include the mayor and all members who voted in approval of the ordinance. Weston Martinez, the president of the Bexar County Conservative Coalition, told reporters, "The mistake was made by the public to let them in office, the council members made the mistake by voting for this ordinance, we’re correcting the matter." One supporter of the decision countered, "[Bernal]'s protecting your freedom, he listened to his constituents, 80 percent of his constituents voted for him."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in Texas
Recall supporters had to collect signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in each member's district to trigger a recall election. For the effort against Bernal, the amount of signatures needed was approximately 6,000. After these original proceedings stalled, Restore SA initiated new proceedings against Bernal in January 2014.
- MySanAntonio, "Ordinance foes target Bernal," August 24, 2013
- KENS5, "Group trying to recall council members who supported updated NDO," September 11, 2013
- City of San Antonio, "Agenda Voting Results - 4," September 5, 2013
- KENS5.com "'Regrouped' Restore S.A. starts block walk to recall councilman," January 12, 2014
- FOX 29, "Councilman Diego Bernal Targeted for Recall," August 23, 2013
- KSAT.com, "Changes to San Antonio's anti-discrimination ordinance draws fire," July 25, 2013
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