DeLeon Recall Now A Waiting Game - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/13/07

DeLeon Recall Now A Waiting Game

Organizers wanting to oust Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon from office tell NewsChannel 11 around 550 people signed their latest petition.  Now, those papers are in the city secretary's control, after being dropped off just minutes before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline.

In the meantime, DeLeon didn't waste any time trying to drum up voter support. She addressed the media even before organizers turned in the second batch of signatures.

Lubbock City Secretary Becky Garza tells NewsChannel 11 her office will use the same state standards as they used during the first petition. 

Organizers asked for an independent observer to oversee the validation process after the first petition failed by 22 signatures.  A city recount showed it failed by 41 signatures. 

NewsChannel 11 used a private auditor to recount the signatures, and that audit showed the petition failed by just nine signatures.

Garza turned down the request for an independent observer.  It's now a waiting game for both sides.

"I'm disappointed about the recall effort because it's a distraction from the important work that needs to be done," Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon said. 

That work includes new jobs, and new construction in north Lubbock, according to DeLeon, talking from the future site of O'Reilly Auto Parts' new distribution center.  The facility will bring about 400 jobs to the area.

"They want change now," recall petition co-organizer Armando Gonzales said. 

Petition organizers say residents in District 1 want more.

"The community feels like it's been left behind, abandoned, and as one lady told me, people are really tired of waiting until the next time for them to receive any benefits from the city," Gonzales said. 

They turned in around 550 signatures of people who agree, but this time, two former city council members, Maggie Trejo, and Victor Hernandez joined that list.

"Let people speak, and if they want you in there great, if they don't you just need to move on," Hernandez said about DeLeon. 

"I'm disappointed, that's all I can say. I really don't want to put any negative light on those individuals. We've known each other for a long time. I'm just really disappointed they would participate in this recall," DeLeon said. 

She also addressed allegations that she contacted people who signed the petition.

"I contacted, in the first recall petition, only one individual that I went to Texas Tech with. I've never contacted anybody else about why they signed that petition," DeLeon said.  

Four hundred and ninety-four signatures are needed to call a recall election in November. We asked Gonzales what happens if this second attempt also fails.

"I haven't gone passed that yet. I haven't decided," Gonzales said. 

As NewsChannel 11 told you earlier, Gonzales had asked for extra time.  He says volunteers lost about a week to collect signatures after the first set of Spanish forms were, according to Gonzales, grammatically incorrect and confusing.

That request was also denied.

DeLeon says she's held several offices, and each time has won by a majority. She says she'll fight to keep her term which lasts until 2010.

We should find out the results of this latest petition by early next week.  Stay with NewsChannel 11 for the latest details.

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