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Cooler lovers fight back in New Braunfels

Looks like there’s some blowback in the Great New Braunfels Cooler Crackdown: Via PinkDome, the city councilman who’s been the driving force behind all of the recent spate of river regulations, including the beer bong and Jell-O shot bans, is now facing a recall by irate cooler-toters.

It took recall supporters fewer than five hours Saturday to gather about 570 signatures on a petition to remove District 6 Council Member Ken Valentine from office. It took less time than that for the City Council on Monday to reject Valentine’s proposal to limit recall referendums.

“If you vote for this, you’re probably going to end up in court,” New Braunfels resident Bill Norvell said.

A retired attorney, Norvell was among more than 100 people who packed council chambers Monday to hear members discuss a range of new ordinances affecting tubers. Most of the those calling for the recall opposed the ordinances, which Valentine supports.

The petition was submitted to city Secretary Michael Resendez on Monday. For a recall vote to be held, Resendez must verify at least 221 signatures.

Robert E. Lee III, one of the recall’s organizers, said he was confident of the petition.

“In business terms, that’s what we call a supermajority,” he said.

If enough signatures have been gathered, the City Council will vote on a resolution to call a referendum in May, Resendez said.

If Valentine is recalled, the city would hold a special election in November to fill his seat, which expires in May 2008.

If I were a betting man, I’d make the recall effort a slight favorite. I just get the impression that the pro-recall forces, which is to say the anti-tiny-cooler forces, will be more motivated to get out and vote in May. I could certainly be wrong about that, and the set of total voters involved in this race is small enough that anything can happen, but that’s my seat of the pants guess. It’ll be fun to watch, that’s for sure.

And it looks like Council Member Valentine might be his own worst enemy:

Resendez said he has received phone calls from residents asking about the number of votes needed to hold recall votes for District 4 Council Member Pat Wiggins, District 5 Council Member Kathleen Krueger and even Mayor Bruce Boyer. But Resendez said he has not received any recall petitions besides Valentine’s.

Valentine, whose district stretches from West Bridge Street south across Interstate 35 to West County Line Road, tried Monday to stop the recall.

He proposed an ordinance that would let the council members have the final say in whether a recall referendum goes forward by determining by majority vote whether the petition properly identifies and supports grounds for recall.

Valentine recused himself from the ordinance’s discussion and vote, and it failed without opposition.

So in one fell swoop, Valentine provided the recallers with another bullet point for their mailers, and demonstrated that his colleagues aren’t willing to stand between him and the rabblerousers. Not a good sign. I’ll keep an eye on this one, so stay tuned.

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  1. Gary Denton says:

    Sounds like a Texas town that doesn’t have a city charter that requires the number of recall petition signatures to be several times that of all those who voted in the election.

    Pasadena is revising its City Charter and refuses to correct that provision.

  2. Jeff says:

    The city charter requires, i believe, 30% of number of votes cast of registered voters to sign, in order for a petition for recal to be certified.

  3. […] what I’ve blogged on cooler size restrictions, which led to an ultimately successful recall effort against one of the architects of these ordinances, and a lawsuit in which I presume the city […]