Recall Effort Grows against Texas City Council Member

By Corey Paul

Odessa American

October 27, 2017

A group of Odessans seeking to oust District 3 Councilwoman Barbara Graff enters their second weekend with nearly 400 signatures on a petition to force a recall election -- a figure that organizers expect to double quickly.

A successful recall petition requires 2,000 signatures, or nearly one out of every four registered voters in the central Odessa district. And they have just through Nov. 20 to gather the minimum number of signatures.

The local insurance agent who organized the recall effort, Chris Wray, said he is confident they will succeed based on the response so far. Supporters of Graff's removal are gathering at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in San Jacinto Park at West County Road and 22nd Street, where they will collect signatures and give out hot chocolate to visitors into the afternoon.

"Everybody is starting to pay closer attention," Wray said. "Everybody is watching what's going on, and not many people like it."

He relayed an account from one canvasser who said she began leaving a telephone number at homes where no one answered, and now has 25 appointments to collect signatures.

Graff has not responded to requests for comment since the recall effort officially began on Oct. 21, the first in a 30-day window that supporters have to collect enough signatures.

She is one of three council members, who have voted as a controlling bloc on the City Council. To maximize their chances of a successful petition, Wray and other organizers target only her with this recall petition, saying they plan to move on to District 5 Councilman Filiberto Gonzales and District 1 Councilman Malcolm Hamilton next.

The outcry stems from a series of City Council behaviors and decisions, including the the firing of City Manager Richard Morton last month, closed meetings and among other reasons, the decision to deny public incentives to an oilfield equipment supplier that responded by building its deca-million dollar facility in Midland instead of Odessa.

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