POSTED: Saturday, August 20, 2011 - 9:36pm
UPDATED: Monday, August 22, 2011 - 3:14pm
EL PASO – There is more controversy surrounding an effort by Pastor Tom Brown to recall the mayor and two city representatives.
Brown and his supporters are circulating a petition to recall Mayor John Cook and City Representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega.
Brown's attorneys, Stewart Leeds and Theresa Caballero, held a news conference at Memorial Park Saturday afternoon. They claim Cook, Byrd and Ortega disregarded the will of the voters when they reversed an ordinance that took away health benefits for domestic partners of city employees.
"If they can set aside this vote, they can set aside any other vote they want. They were not elected to be dictators," said Leeds.
Mayor Cook said the ordinance was poorly worded and confusing so that's why he voted to restore partner benefits.
At Saturday's news conference, Caballero called out District Attorney Jaime Esparza. She said he has launched a politically motivated investigation into allegations that Brown and his supporters have been illegally obtaining signatures for the recall petition. Caballero said Esparza is trying to protect Cook, Byrd and Ortega.
"Pastor brown and his followers have broken no laws,” said Caballero. “If there is a law on the books criminalizing like-minded people congregating in their places of worship, and promoting political beliefs, then that law is toxic trash and needs to be condemned."
In a statement, Cook said "both Stewart and Theresa have been enemies of the District Attorney for a long time. She ran against Jaime Esparza and lost in the last November election. So maybe she's politically motivated to go after him."