The petition to recall Councilman Victor Hernandez was successful. On Tuesday morning, the Office of the City Secretary announced that the petition had enough signatures for a recall.
The petition had 586 signatures and of them, 576 were declared valid.
Councilman Hernandez has five days to resign. If he chooses not to resign, the petition will go before city council at the June 13 meeting and they will call a special election to be held at the next uniform election date in November 2013.
"Well it was a lot of hard work, we had to go door to door, but we're thankful and appreciate the voters in District 1 who welcomed us to their homes," said former Lubbock County Commissioner Ysidro Gutierrez.
Gutierrez was the driving force behind the recall petition effort against Hernandez, joined by Frank Gutierrez, Armando Gonzales and Beatrice Perez (Ysidro Gutierrez' daughter).
"The main concern of the voters is Mr. Hernandez's 16-year-old record of not uniting but dividing this city council. The other thing they said is that the entire city council is dysfunctional and they want this council to get back to the business of the people of Lubbock," he said. "It's a big plus for the democratic process. It shows that the people's voice can be heard. It was heard and I think this is the finest of the traditions in the democratic process under our system of government."
Victor Hernandez released a statement shortly after the recall was approved stating that he would not resign.
City Councilman Victor Hernandez stated, "Throughout the process of Mr. Gutierrez, et al, gathering signatures, I received numerous phone calls from some of the voters being approached. The callers stated that they were told by those collecting their signature that the petition being circulated was in fact, to support me as their Council member. Other callers reported being told that the petition being circulated was an effort to reduce the LP&L electric rate. As a result of this misinformation, some members of the community signed the recall petition."
Challenges to the petition had to be filed prior to the petition being turned in to the City Secretary's Office.
Councilman Hernandez said, "I would again urge District 1 residents to remain calm as we push forward to the November election. Furthermore, I would ask that District 1 voters support me by voting against the recall effort. In a nutshell, this initiative has become a referendum on a public official's right to make inquiries of senior staff members in order to perform his duties and thus cast his votes, fully informed."
Hernandez said, "I wish to thank all who have expressed their well wishes, support and prayers. This exercise has helped create a call to action like no other. The voters of District 1 continue to discuss and debate this recall effort and its instigators. To me, the silver lining to this event is that the people of District 1 have become adamant about having a say, about being part of the process, about wanting to vote."
Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson was also at the news conference Tuesday morning. He wasn't able to speak with Hernandez about the situation but said it is up to him and the other city council members to make sure the focus is squarely on the citizens and not other distractions.
"For the next several months as a council we have a job to do and that includes Mr. Hernandez," Robertson said.
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