NEW BRAUNFELS — A recall petition filed by can ban opponents against New Braunfels City Council Member Bryan Miranda on Tuesday morning contains enough signatures to force a May election in which voters will be asked whether Miranda should be removed from office.
Sheri Masterson, the city’s public information officer, said the required 150 signatures were verified late Tuesday.
The petition is the third recall or referendum petition that has been submitted by opponents of the city’s can ban, which takes effect next week.
The first two petitions failed.
The first resulted in the Nov. 8 referendum election, which cost taxpayers $15,000 and in which 58 percent of voters supported the can ban, which prohibits beer cans and other disposable food and drink containers on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers within the city limits effective Jan. 1.
The second petition, an attempt made earlier this month to recall ban supporter Mayor Gale Pospisil, was ruled invalid because of a lack of valid signatures.
Miranda said Tuesday the petition against him is an attempt to circumvent the will of the people.
“The petition is baseless and frivolous and was submitted in retaliation for my vote on the disposable container ban, which was ultimately affirmed by voters in the November election,” Miranda said.
“The efforts of a few individuals to divide our town and disrupt the democratic process is discouraging to say the least,” he said.
“I am disappointed that a recall petition has been submitted,” Miranda said. “As councilors, we volunteer our time to represent the will of the people, which is exactly what I’ve done since I’ve been on council.”
He added: “I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of the community at large and I look forward to representing the people of District 5 as we fight this.”
According to Assistant City Secretary Danny Batts, the petition against Miranda was circulated and is undersigned by the same person who submitted the petition against Pospisil: Kim Maikoetter, an officer of New Braunfels Citizens for Responsible Government, a political action committee that opposed the disposable container ban.
David Martinez, who identified himself at City Hall as vice president of New Braunfels’ LULAC Council 4217, actually submitted the petition at City Hall on Tuesday morning, Batts said. Martinez had also circulated and undersigned some of the petition’s pages.
Maikoetter didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday. Martinez answered a phone call and said he would call back later to comment, but didn’t by Tuesday evening.
The wording on the Miranda petition is almost identical to the wording on the Pospisil petition.
According to the city charter, “Any elected city official shall be subject to recall and removal from office by the qualified voters of the city on grounds of incompetency, misconduct of [or] malfeasance in office.”
Both petitions allege incompetence and misconduct. Neither specifically references the disposable container ban.
The language in both cases alleges “a gross lack of understanding of state law that has resulted in the city being divided and involved in multiple unnecessary lawsuits.”
The petition charges Miranda with “repeatedly present(ing) false information in pursuit of ... personal policies without regard to the truth or the will of the people.”
Batts said the Miranda petition was submitted with 279 raw, unverified signatures.
He said the city charter requires such petitions to carry either 150 signatures or an amount equal to 30 percent of the votes cast in the last regular election in Miranda’s District 5, whichever is greater.
A total of 215 votes were cast in District 5 council election on May 14, when Miranda captured 65 percent of the vote to win the seat, which serves east-central New Braunfels and includes the Comal River and Schlitterbahn areas.
Thirty percent of 215 is 65.
City council is expected to meet in a special session on Friday or Saturday to receive the verified petition and to call for the May election, Masterson said.