John Harper vs The World – Part III
I didn’t want to write this post, but circumstances have dictated that I must.
Someone is, apparently, spreading false information.
It seems there is a phone message going around that says I am circulating a Recall Petition against Rowlett Mayor John Harper, and that I am doing so in conjunction with the TEA Party. That is an open-faced LIE. I am not associated WITH the TEA Party, in any way, shape, form or fashion.
I did attend the TEA Party meeting, aka: John Harper’s dog and pony show, on Saturday, March 19, but I did so as a PRIVATE citizen, one that is concerned about the direction the Mayor is taking our city, and his methodology in doing what he does.
So, to whoever it is that’s saying that I am circulating a RECALL PETITION in conjunction with the TEA Party, please, cease and desist immediately.
Now, here is the truth of the matter, I AM in the process of garnering the support needed to file a Recall Petition against Rowlett Mayor John Harper, but I am doing so as an individual and a private citizen, not in concert with ANY group or groups.
I am receiving many calls and emails supporting the recall effort, I am honestly surprised that so many here in Rowlett have ‘seen the light’ so to speak. Below is a copy of the email that I sent to Mayor Harper this morning, an exact copy, as can be easily verified because I sent it to the entire City Council as well as other concerned Rowlett citizens.
Mr. Mayor, you said,
“I am not a politician, I happen to be a Chief Financial Officer. I have been an executive for almost 30 years. I don’t know these games that they play. I’m not sure I’ll finish my term for you because I’m tired of these games. I’m leaving money on the table instead of working full time for Cooper so that I can be in my city, with my colleagues, my community and I’m finding it’s a horrible situation…If you don’t want me to be your Mayor, just let me know. Trust me, Cooper wants me to work full time instead of the part time I’m doing now.”
That may be the best move for you to make. You effectiveness here in Rowlett is questionable at best. The above quote is a statement of ego and bravado. You have made the threat of resigning one time too many.
You have repeatedly made statements to the effect of, “If I can’t get a Council that will support ME, I am going to quit.”
Now may be a good time to do just that: QUIT.
I supported you in both elections but Sir, I can no longer do so, and I personally believe that your resignation would best for Rowlett and it’s citizens.
This city is suffering governmental gridlock because of the battle between the Mayor, the City Manager and Council.
Rowlett is a prime location for business and home owners. We have the George Bush Turnpike being built all the way through Rowlett, access to our city is about to increase and our profile will rise greatly. We have the opportunity to become something other than a bedroom community.
Here is a prime example of the emails I am receiving, from Rowlett citizens, I have left the name off but will share the message.
I am letting you know that I don’t want you to be my Mayor and that you should seriously consider going back full-time at Cooper. In these tough economic times you shouldn’t pass up such an opportunity for full-time employment. And really Mayor, if you have to ask whether or not the folks still have confidence in you for that elected position, you’ve already lost the battle.
My reasoning for this decision is simple; you have breached my confidence for you to lead our fine City and you no longer represent the views of my family and I, as well as many of my friends and associates. Your consistent verbal attacks on the City Manager, fellow City Council Members, and even City staff are dangerous, irresponsible and even childish at times. It is clear to me that if we are to be successful at future economic development we need an enthusiastic, passionate cheerleader who embraces respectful collaboration and teamwork. You are not that person. Instead, you have chosen on many occasions to spew words of anger, bitterness and vitriol. I cannot speak to your reasons, but you’ve changed from the Mayor that was first elected several years ago – and not for the better.
Please resign and save the embarrassment of a recall process and petition.
What I hold in my hand is commonly referred to here in Texas as “A can of Whoop-Ass“.
Don’t make me open it.
The great state of Texas doesn’t have a RECALL option on the books, but, the City of Rowlett does, it’s in OUR charter:
ARTICLE VIII – Recall
SECTION 8.01 Procedure
The Mayor or any Councilmember may be removed from office in the following manner:
(1) Any qualified voter of the City may make and file with the City Secretary an affidavit containing the name of any member of the City Council whose removal is sought, which said affidavit shall distinctly and specifically state the ground or grounds upon which removal is predicated. The City Secretary shall deliver a copy of such affidavit to the party so charged and also to the other members of the City Council. The City Secretary shall then place the matter on the agenda of the next regular City Council meeting for the purpose of giving the affiant an opportunity to present such charges to the City Council and to give the Mayor or Councilmember so charged an opportunity to answer such charge or charges. Such matter may be considered by the City Council in an executive session, which is closed to the public, unless such officer requests a public hearing.37 If, after such meeting, such officer has not tendered such resignation or such affiant has not withdrawn such charges, the City Secretary shall deliver to the affiant making such charges, copies of petition blanks for demanding such removal, printed on forms, which shall be kept on hand. Such blanks shall be issued by the City Secretary with the City Secretary’s signature thereto attached, and they shall be dated and addressed to the City Council, indicate the person to whom issued, state the name of the member whose removal is sought, and such petition must distinctly and specifically point out the ground or grounds upon which such petition for removal is predicated, and, if there be more than one ground, such as for incompetency, misconduct or malfeasance in office, shall specifically state each ground with certainty, as was required in the initial affidavit, so as to give the officer sought to be removed and those signing the petition, notice of the matters and things with which such officer is charged. A copy of the petition shall be recorded in a record book for that purpose to be kept in the office of the City Secretary. A recall petition to be effective must be returned and filed with the City Secretary within thirty (30) days after its issuance. Such petition must bear the signatures of qualified voters of the City equal in number to at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the total number of voters casting votes for such office at the last regular election or the signatures of two hundred fifty (250) qualified voters of the City, whichever is the greatest.
(2) Signatures to a recall petition need not be appended to one paper, but to each such petition paper there shall be attached an affidavit of the circulator thereof, stating that each signature thereto was made in the circulator’s presence and is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be. Each signer of a recall petition shall sign in ink or indelible pencil and shall place after such signature, said name printed, the date when said signature was made, signer’s residence by street and number, or other description to identify signer’s place of residence, county of residence, and if available, signer’s voter registration certificate number. Inclusion of the voter registration number is not required and may be placed on the petition by the signer or added to the petition by the person circulating the petition. It shall serve only as an aid to assist the City Secretary in the task of determining whether or not the signer is a qualified voter. Provided, however, nothing in regard to the inclusion of such registration number shall affect the validity of the petition including, but not limited to, errors in regard to the number supplied or its total omission. Recall petition papers provided by the City Secretary shall be in form that substantially complies with the form in Appendix A.
(3) All papers and affidavits comprising a recall petition shall be assembled and filed with the City Secretary as one instrument, with a statement attached thereto giving the names and addresses of three (3) qualified voters, who, as a committee of the petitioners, shall be officially regarded as filing the petition. Within ten (10) days of the date of filing a recall petition, the City Secretary shall determine the sufficiency thereof and attach thereto a certificate showing the result of the examination. If the City Secretary shall certify that the petition as insufficient, the City Secretary shall set forth in the certificate the particulars in which it is defective and shall at once notify the committee of petitioners of such finding.
(4) A recall petition may be amended at any time within twenty (20) days after the making of the certificate of insufficiency by the City Secretary by filing a supplementary petition upon additional papers issued, signed and filed as provided herein for an original petition. The City Secretary shall within five (5) days after such amendment is filed, make examination of the amended petition and, if the City Secretary certificate shall show the petition still to be insufficient, the City Secretary shall file the petition in the office of the City Secretary and notify the committee of petitioners of such findings. The finding of insufficiency of a recall petition shall not prejudice the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.
(5) If a recall petition, or amended petition shall be certified by the City Secretary to be sufficient, the City Secretary shall at once submit it to the City Council with the City Secretary certificate to that effect and shall notify the member whose removal is sought on such action. The officer whose removal is sought may, within five (5) days after such recall petition has been presented to the City Council, request that a public hearing be held to permit the officer whose removal is sought to present facts pertinent to the charges specified in the recall petition. In this event, the City Council shall order such public hearing to be held, not less than five (5) nor more than fifteen (15) days after receiving such request for public hearing. If the officer whose removal is sought does not resign within five (5) days after such public hearing, or if no public hearing is requested, within five (5) days after the deadline for requesting such public hearing, the City Council shall thereupon order and fix the date for holding a recall election which shall be held at the next date authorized for City elections by State law 38, but not less than forty (40) days after the date of said public hearing, if requested, or if a public hearing has not been requested, not less than forty (40) days after the deadline for requesting such public hearing.
(6) The question of recalling any number of members of the City Council may be submitted at the same election, but as to each member whose removal is sought a separate affidavit and a separate petition shall be filed and there shall be an entirely separate ballot. Candidates to succeed any members of the City Council whose removal is sought shall be placed in nomination in compliance with this Charter.
(7) The ballot to be used in a recall election shall submit the proposition in substantial compliance with the form in Appendix B. Except as provided in this section, ballots used in recall elections shall comply with the provisions of this Charter regarding ballots for regular municipal elections.
(8) If a majority of the votes cast on the question of recalling the Mayor or a Councilmember be against recall, such Mayor or Councilmember shall continue in office for the remainder of the unexpired term, but subject to recall as before. If a majority of such votes be for recall of the officer on the ballot, such officer shall, regardless of any technical defect in the recall petition, be deemed removed from office. When the Mayor or a Councilmember is removed from office by recall, the candidate to succeed such officer who receives the highest vote shall be declared elected to fill the unexpired term.
(9) If a Mayor or Councilmember in regard to whom sufficient recall petition is submitted shall resign, the place thus made vacant on the City Council shall be filled by the qualified voters at an election called for the next available uniform election date prescribed by State law 39, as amended. If the term of office or offices is or are unexpired, the member or members elected at such election shall serve in such office or offices for the remainder of the unexpired term of such office or offices following the date of the election.
(10) No recall shall be filed against the Mayor or a Councilmember within three (3) months after such Mayor or Councilmember takes office. In the case of a Mayor or Councilmember subjected to a recall petition and not removed thereby no recall shall be filed against the Mayor or Councilmember until at least six (6) months after the recall election. In the case of a Mayor or Councilmember subjected to an ineffective recall petition that is not returned to the City Secretary within thirty (30) days after its issuance no recall shall be filed against the Mayor or Councilmember until at least six (6) months after the expiration of the thirty (30) days.
So, now we’ll see if the Mayor is a man of his word, he said, “If you don’t want me as your Mayor, just say so.”
Some of us have!