A Norman group has filed petitions in an effort to recall the mayor and half of the city council members.
Unite Norman is collecting signatures in an attempt to recall Mayor Breea Clark and council members Kate Bierman, Stephen Holman, Alison Petrone and Sereta Wilson.
City Clerk Brenda Hall said petitioners have until Aug. 14 to collect 18,154 signatures, which is 25% of registered voters in Norman, to initiate recall proceedings for Mayor Clark. Numbers that vary between 1,451-2,588 signatures, which is 25% of each of the four council member's wards registered voters, are required to begin recall proceedings for the city council members.
Pat McFerron, a consultant for Unite Norman, said “the straw that broke the camels back” for the group to file the recall petitions was when the Norman City Council voted in June to remove $865,000 from the police department's proposed budget. So far, Unite Norman has collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations on GoFundMe.
“Everybody I’m speaking to says, look, we're committed to making Norman the place we think it all can be and the place where a lot of people in Unite Norman grew up,” McFerron said. “They don't think it's the same community right now that it was, and they want to make sure that they're able to do that for the future generations.”
McFerron said the group is collecting signatures at pop-up locations across town and having people go door-to-door.
Hall said four people filed the recall petitions: Unite Norman member Chris Dragg, local real estate developer Sassan Moghadam, Unite Norman co-founder and spokesperson Russell Smith and retired Norman Police Department officer Jim Spearman
Each petition states the reason for seeking recall is because the mayor and council members do not represent “the views of the people of Norman on important issues.” Councilmember Bierman said she finds this concerning.
“That indicates that the people who did take the time to follow what was happening on the local level and research the candidates and get out and vote in the last ward and mayoral elections either weren’t paying attention or are not representative of the city,” Bierman said.
If petitioners get the required number of signatures, the election would likely take place in January.
Councilmember Holman said he thinks the recall petitions are a waste of time and resources since the four council members would face a regularly scheudled election in February.
“I think a lot of folks are questioning why would you not just get good candidates to run against them in a few months instead of trying to recall and seriously divide the community…,” Holman said.
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