FULL STORY: Recall Notices For Mayor, City Representatives Filed

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POSTED: Monday, July 18, 2011 - 5:26pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 3:58pm

EL PASO - Mayor Cook's days at city hall may be numbered; the same goes for representatives Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd. At least, that's what one group is hoping.

Today, dozens of people signed a petition to yank them out of office after they overturned a voter-approved ordinance stripping city-employed domestic partners of their health benefits.

"The turnout is about 4 times as big as when we did the traditional family values ordinance," said Pastor Tom Brown.

Last month, council voted to reverse the November vote.

"To go through the expense of number one the recall election and then number two a special election to replace me if the recall is successful, then that's not a good use of taxpayer money," Mayor Cook said. He added that the recall is a moot point since he terms out in 2013.

Representative Steve Ortega stands by his vote. He says the ordinance was ambiguously worded and affected more people than was intended.

"I look at myself in the mirror every morning and I'm completely happy with the vote I took on that," Ortega said.

Susie Byrd tells us this group used the recall as a scare tactic, announcing their plans before council even voted on the issue.

"What the voters were asking us to do is to discriminate against gay and lesbian people who are longtime city employees and I do not feel that that's a moral thing to do," Byrd said.

Brown has his fair share of opposition, too. Most recently, a group called Americans United filed a complaint with the IRS, saying Brown has violated tax law by endorsing the recall in his tax-exempt ministry.

Brown maintains he's not in violation of the law because he's not endorsing a candidate. And he's not letting it get in his way.

"It's a big feat to get all these signatures, that's why no one has ever succeeded before," he said.

To get the recall measure on the next ballot, they need to collect almost 7,000 signatures for Mayor Cook's petition, and around 700 are needed for both Ortega and Byrd's petitions.

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Original story:

EL PASO - This morning several members of the community filed a notice that they will be organizing a petition to recall Mayor John Cook and city representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega.

The group, including pastor Tom Brown and his wife Sonia Brown, decided to file the notice after the voter-approved domestic partnership ordinance was reversed.

Voters passed the ordinance, which made city health benefits available only to city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children, in November. Proponents call it upholding traditional family values and saving taxpayer dollars, but opponents say it discriminates against homosexual couples and inadvertently denies benefits to some city retirees. City council voted, with Mayor Cook breaking the tie, to prevent its implementation and reverse the ordinance.

The group filing the notice of the recall petition says Mayor Cook and representatives Byrd and Ortega have gone against the will of the people. They will have sixty days to gather enough signatures to put the recall measure on the ballot.

Coming up tonight we'll talk to the group filing the notice, as well as the mayor and representatives who are at the center of the recall.

Comments News Comments

The recall election is not about gays benefits and the benefits of unmarried couples living together. It is about the mayor violating one of the basic American principles: voting.

This country may be running low, but it is still United Ststes and it was formed on foundations such as respecting the vote of the people. I understand the mayor's good intentions, but he violated the people's vote. If he is concerned with the expense of the recall, he should resign and save the expense.

Arves Automotive, 10105 Dyer, (915) 751-9171

Logos Christian Worship Center, 985 Loma Verde (915) 227-2096

Nacho Padilla, 340 Alvarez Drive, (915) 309-1899

The Blimp, 1301 Texas Street, (915) 351-9593

Places to fill the recall petition:

Word of Life Church, 11675 Pratt Ave,
(915) 855-9673 (915) 855-9673

Jesus Chapel, 111 West Sunset RD,
(915) 581-1195 (915) 581-1195

Centro Vida Life Center, 1335 Henry Brennan Drive, (915) 545-5555 (915) 545-5555

LifeGate Church, 10555 Edgemere Boulevard, (915) 593-1122 (915) 593-1122

Arves Automotive, 10105 Dyer

Don't like gay marriages? Don't get one.. Don't like cigarettes ? Don't smoke them.. Don't like abortions? Don't get one.. Don't like sex? Don't have it.. Don't like drugs? Don't do them.. Don't like porn? Don't watch it.. Don't like alcohol? Don't drink it.. .. Don't like your rights taken away??? Don't take away someone else's. {re-post if you agree

Hey Carlos,are you Gay?,we have Male and Female species on earth for a reason,to procreate,that means to have Babies,Dildols and Sodemy don't produce Babies

Don't like people shoving gay rights down your throat? Don't take it and stand up against it. Don't like people forcing the tax payer to pay for gay benefits? Don't take it and stand up against it. Don't like elected politicians misrepresenting your vote? Don't take it and stand up against it.

The citizens of EL Paso said NO!

Think you could sneak Obama's name onto the petition?

The mayor's defense for the recall is that it would be too expensive for the tax payer.

What about the hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars missused or missappropriated as a result of his personal agenda throughout his term at city hall? He's not bringing that up is he?

The mayor and all of his personally appointed liasons as well as Byrd and dumb Ortega need to resign.

Just like the mayor dishonored the voters of El Paso by reversing our vote he should be dishonored with the recall preventing him from completing his last term. He needs to resign!

El Paso is tired of dirty politicians! The mayor and his cronies need to resign! Where do I sign.

Most people did not understand the way the ballot was written. I will support all those individuals that are AGAINST this satanic pastor and his followers. Stay at your cult and leave el paso alone!!

You love sex with other Boys/Men,that is not for everyone,some people think that is for Males and Females, if we let animals have Same Sex we would soon run out of food,same sex doesn't produce anything but AIDS

This is typical. Just like the dictator of Libya calling the revolutionaries devils, this reader calls the pastor satanic. Childish name calling is not going to help restore the medical benefits for gays. Do it the legal way.

The pastor is doing the American thing. He is doing something legal about the mayor going against the people's votes. This is still United States. United Stated was born out of principle of freedom and vote.

Up to what school grade did you get to? There words were simple and to the point, the ones placed in the voting ballot.

Do you know what these words mean "Traditional Family"????????

You know . . a mom . . . . & a dad.

This is what traditional family means, let me repeat it for you, a Mom and a Dad. :-)

The people have spoken and the rule of law must be adhered to. Had the people's vote favored to cover same sex partners with health benefits, I would not have liked it but would have respected the will of the people. Since the people voted to deny this benefit, then so be it. Recall the officials that were elected to follow the will of the people not their own opinions.

Mayor Cook thinks he is King Cook and we are his Serfs, it is time he and his cohorts go,they are Crooks

Does God hate homosexuals? No. Does God approve of homosexuality? Absolutely not. Can a person truly be a Christian and at the same time a practicing homosexual? No (1 Corinthians 6:9). The "God hates fags" ministry fails miserably in the message it proclaims. Ephesians 4:15 instructs us to "speak the truth...in love." First Peter 3:15 teaches us to proclaim the truth, but to do so with gentleness and respect.

the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a greater sin that any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ.

The mayor and his two cronies should do the right thing: RESIGN !! All of you overturned a voter-approved ordinance...your dictator mentality belongs in some other country...like Cuba. I have not gotten an answer from City Council......On the average,how much are all of these benefits costing the citizens of El Paso on a yearly basis. The "Judge" already ruled that certain people simple aren't legally entitled to these benefits

Where do I sign recall on Mayor and reps. Frank Dimas 757 1230.

Who's got the petitions? Where do we sign to recall the power-grabbing punks?

I agree with girshwald2000 where do I sign.

I wonder what or who will be his next target.
Perhaps we should go back in history to the 30's in europe
and see how some else got his start and rise in power
simly by preaching hate
disgusted

This is a matter of a pastor and his wife that need to mind their own buisness. So tired of them.

They speak for morale and ethics! Principal values which have been forgetten with reversing El Pasoan's decision on the matter. Where do I sign?

ha ha ha ha!!!! morale and ethics!! ha ha ha! you should talk. Values?? you have nerve to even sign your name as KING DAVID!! go to your cult and keep it quiet!!! SHUT IT!!!!!

Why do you Gays insult other folds views,you always want free hand outs,we have to pay for you Condoms, Dildols and other play things,and now for your Aids medication

Make sure someone comes to the northeast, so I can sign it. Best thing for the city. They HAVE to go.

Wait so they are recalling city officials because no one can understand church and state are seperate. Alternative lifestyle or not if they work for the city they deserve health benefits just like everyone else.

This isn't a religious debate because if this goes above the city to federal or supreme court the church will lose. You cannot discriminate due to symantics of "marital status" in the work place.

fhero Um, let me see how can I put this where I do not offend you. Do you remember grade school history, when the founding fathers formed our country? Let me refresh your memory, we are a republic. The people vote for the people to run the government, the people hold the reigns to who is elected. The mayor and his cronies reversed the votes of the people. This is what tyranny is, dictatorship, etc. If they do this now and get away with it, what is next? You should be just as outraged as the

rest of us, not because of your agreement or disagreement on the issue at hand but because your VOTE DID NOT COUNT. What they did was wrong period, just look around & you & see how much the government has intervened in our lives. The government was formed solely to protect the people,the government was not created so that they can tell us what we can & cannot do. Wake up, because before you know it, there will be iron bars around you where you cannot make a move without gov approval.

Good point .. I'll sign!

Im so sick of this pastor and his wife!! The City of el paso votes for them to leave!! We have had enough..

They should get free housing,like the rest of you freeloaders

I think they should be recalled for trying to overturn the will of the people.

I agree with you Loyal American. The mayor himself said it was possible to return the benefits to retired firemen/policemen without overturning the people's vote. Why didn't he? My take is he wanted to exercise his mayoral muscles and promote a personal agenda more than he wanted to respect the majority vote. He dishonored the voter's will, the voting principle and the office he should vacate.

Sorry you are wrong,he wants the Gay andLesbian vote,and he thinks he is King

I do not agree with the voters, however, I do believe in the democratic process which says the majority rules. No one should have the authority or power to override any persons vote. America is a free country not a dictatorship.

This isn't a matter of gay vs straight. This is a matter of elected officials failing to listen to the people. Where do I sign to put the recall measure on the ballot?

The city council wants to make it a gay matter, the reality its their lack of fiduciary responsibility and lack of accountability to the voter that's the issue here. Where do I sign!

You are right on!! This time it's benefits for domestic partners of city employees. Unchecked it easily becomes something else the people have voted on that the council and mayor don't agree with supporting. This precedent of mayor and council not honoring the majority vote of the people is a signficant attack on American demogracy and voters's right to have their vote count. Petitions are in circulation/ available in every area of the city!

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