Signature Petition Falls Short - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/27/02

Signature Petition Falls Short

Edward Estrada needed to collect 1,700 signatures by 5 p.m. Wednesday to force Councilman Frank Morrison into a recall election. The city secretary's office says Estrada got about 1,040 signatures. That is 660 shy of what was needed.

Edward Estrada may not have enough signatures, but he says that does not matter. What matters, he says, is that at least 1,040 people in Morrison's district have serious concerns about Morrison as a leader. Estrada says Morrison should take this as a wake up call to shape up or ship out.

After 30 days of literally pounding the pavement, Edward Estrada proudly turned over the fruits of his labor. "I'm glad it's over. I can go home and collapse," says Estrada.

Estrada has been on a mission for the past 30 days, trying to get enough signatures to force his councilman into a recall election. The reason? His councilman moved out of the very district he was elected to represent. "It's a double standard that we the citizens have to abide by the letter of the city charter and cross all our T's and dot all our I's. Meantime, Mr. Morrison, for the last eight months, has played with the city charter and interpreted city law to accommodate his own self interests," says Estrada.

Councilman Frank Morrison says he respects and follows the city charter, and never intended to concern the people in his district. "I disagree with his contention that I was not playing by the rules. I agree that the issues in the charter and election code are somewhat vague," says Morrison. Morrison says he intends to move back into his district in December, and says that was always his objective.

The city secretary's office says Estrada came up 660 signatures short and this ends the process. There is no need for validation of the signatures. Morrison says he's relieved it's all over, and says he's ready to put it behind him and get on with the business and policy issues important to Lubbock. "There were some of the people who signed the petition who genuinely thought that I had been misleading them, that I was being dishonest. I hope through my actions and future actions that I will be able to regain their trust," says Morrison.

Estrada believes that will be a real uphill battle for Morrison. "We know we lit the fire under his chair so to speak. Personally, I'll believe it when I see it, when he moves back into the district. Because he's made statements before," says Estrada. "It sends a message to elected officials that people are watching council, that people do care."

Estrada says it was a noble cause and well worth the time and effort. He says he will continue to hold Councilman Morrison and all city leaders to a high level of accountability. Morrison says he will move back into his district sometime before Christmas, and has no plans on leaving again.

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